Willamette Park is the place for West Linners to gather for the annual fireworks show every Independence Day

West Linns Fourth of July event organizer, Alice Richmond, joins the Nash Brothers at the end of a set.

Families from West Linn and surrounding areas gathered at Willamette Park for the annual Fourth of July celebration Tuesday night. Picnic blankets and folding chairs populated the baseball field and grassy hill backing 12th street.

The Fourth of July celebration was first put on in 2006 and the celebration includes music, food, drinks and lots of space for families and friends to relax and socialize. The evening ends in a spectacular showing of fireworks lasting upwards of 15 minutes. Active and retired military, like Eric Pettis, left, and Bobby Jory, right, were part of the all volunteer team that ran the fireworks for West Linns annual July Fourth event.

The elaborate fireworks show is made possible by West Linn resident and volunteer extraordinaire, Alice Richmond, who fundraises for the event all year. Event crew member Eric Pettis and several other volunteers arrived at the park at 11 in the morning to prepare the fireworks. Pettis said that most of the crew know each other since they used to work for the military at some point. When asked what his favorite part was, he said, "It's probably the setting up and getting to create a little bit. We get to decide what color goes up at what time and how fast things will fire and it's a really good small town show that a lot of people go to."

Fireworks weren't the only promised attraction at the park. The Nash Brothers played live music and several food and drink vendors set up stands. A short line persisted throughout the evening for kettle corn, which appeared to be a favorite of children and adults alike. The sweet smell of kettle corn and the loud joyful screams of young children created a carnival-like atmosphere. Several impromptu games of Frisbee and catch took place around the park. PHOTOS BY J. BRIAN MONIHAN -  Dancers hit the stage at Willamette Park during Fourth of July festivities.

Many families came to the park for the first time this year, and some were from cities other than West Linn. Joel came with his wife and three young children from Tualatin. He said, "I like how there aren't so many people here. It's pretty open and I feel really secure for our kids. It's not chaotic. It's very laid back." Several West Linn families said the celebration was nice because it brings the small town together and helps nurture the strong sense of community that West Linn enjoys.Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue brought their hook and ladder truck to display a giant American flag for the start of West Linns July Fourth event at Willamette Park.

Shortly after 9.50 p.m. the first fireworks were lit and a colorful flower blossomed in the sky above the smaller field. Families cheered and settled back to enjoy the rest of show with friends old and new.

Anisha Arcot is a reporting intern with the West Linn Tidings.

 The Nash Brothers delighted the crowd with their country music flair.

Parking was already at capacity and Willamette Park was already starting to fill even three hours prior to the annual fireworks show.

Alice Richmond, the organizer of West Linn's annual Fourth of July event, welcomes the crowd to Willamette Park.

West Linn's State Representative, Julie Parrish, gives a shout-out to the military volunteers who stepped up to organize and operate the fireworks.

A local National Guard soldier sings the National Anthem at the West Linn July 4th celebration Tuesday.

The crowd rises for the pledge of allegiance.

State Senator Richard Devlin took a break from current legislative session to share with the crowd a history of the Fourth of July.

West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod thanked the many sponsors of this year's July Fourth event while also promoting many of the upcoming summer events in town.

Matt Fehrenbacher was one of four members of the TVF&R crew that were needed to properly fold the flag after it was taken down.

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