OTTUMWA —Every summer the Ottumwa Park campgrounds fill up with campers who travel from near and far to celebrate.
The campground was buzzing with excitement Friday afternoon some kids rode their bikes to the lagoons and others received fishing lessons from their parents. City workers worked fast to cut the grass around the Jimmy Jones Shelter before families descended on the park to watch Ottumwa's annual fireworks display.
Marilyn Easton, of Ottumwa, was outside her RV with her friend, Lana Drummond, of Bloomfield, watching the excitement and letting her dog get some fresh air.
"We have been here for two and a half weeks. We were here for the balloon races, and we just stay through the Fourth because it's fun and my dog likes to walk," said Easton.
The Ottumwa Park is full of energy at this point in the year, and the women enjoy that the park can have exciting events at night and then return to a relaxing park in the day time. The two women have been staying at the campgrounds enjoying the atmosphere and meeting fellow campers.
"It is quiet and peaceful, and you feel like you can just relax here," said Easton.
Both Drummond and Easton explained that their Fourth of July was going to be very traditional with a grilled family dinner Friday evening before getting together to watch the firework show.
The Fourth of July is a holiday that is typically spent with family and associated with just about anything you can cook on a grill. Down the lane, the Graham family is not only celebrating Independence Day but also family. Dave Graham and his children spend every Fourth of July weekend traveling to Ottumwa from various Wisconsin cities.
"We spend almost every Fourth here for our family reunion," said Graham. "I am originally from Ottumwa and have a lot of relatives that still live close by, so we come camp in the park and have our reunion up in Memorial Park."
Every family has a different way of celebrating the Fourth of July, and the Ottumwa Park is a location where families come and are offered a variety of outdoor activities as well as a professional fireworks display.
— Follow reporter Danielle Lunsford on Twitter @CourierDanielle