A night for Surf City is a night for America

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 02:46 PM.

For people who celebrate the Fourth of July on Topsail Island , “the twilight’s last gleaming” is more than an iconic lyric.

Each year on the evening of July 3, as a huge orange sun drops below the horizon beyond the Intracoastal Waterway, a unique coastal tradition is renewed with the waterfront fireworks display in Surf City .

The spectacular visual gets the celebration of American off to a stirring start on Topsail. From there, cookouts and the beach take over; but for a few booming moments on the night before, it’s like the town and its multitude of visitors join for a single, inspirational salute.

The scene at the town’s Soundside Park and its surrounding waters is impressive.

There’s always a good beach band — this year, it’s Mark Roberts and Breeze. Families spread out on blankets and in chairs with their own picnic baskets or hot dogs from a festival vendor. Children chase each other and Frisbees, while a few rhythmic souls venture to the front of the stage to dance. Traffic starts to back up on the ubiquitous swinging bridge

Neighbors greet neighbors, and locals mix with strangers. Mayor Zander Guy and other town officials mingle with the crowd to make sure everyone is having a good time.

Pretty soon, the park becomes a place much larger than Surf City — it becomes all of America . It is a sight to behold.

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