This brief recounting of the history of our traditional 4th of July Celebration in Lago Vista was provided by Ann Murrow…who motivated, cajoled, encouraged and through an indomitable will pulled together the bevy of volunteers that produced the event we all have enjoyed through the years. She has now retired from the Council but ALL of us owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude for having the undeniable strength of character and resolve that managed to pull of a successful event year after year. THANK YOU ANN MURROW!
Lago Vista 4th of July Council, Inc.
A Brief History
Mid 1970’s – Mid 1990’s:
A hat filled with money was the simple beginning of the annual 4th of July holiday celebrations.
Louise and Jerry Turner invited friends to a pot luck supper, held annually at their lakeside home during the 1970’s, when the population of the unincorporated area was in the low 100’s. A car full of party-goers drove to Hard Hill on FM 1431 and handpicked the fireworks for the big event. At Dark 30 the ooohs and aaahs filled the air as they celebrated the joy of being an American.
As the population grew, National Homes, the area’s developer kicked in $1000 for fireworks and music, and the celebrations at Bar K Recreational Park began in earnest. When the Lago Vista Chamber of Commerce was founded in the early ‘80’s they formed a committee to coordinate the event, adding vendors and a parade. One year the parade was held on Bar K Road.
In the late ‘80’s the chamber appointed Ann Murrow as chair of the celebration. Early in the ’90’s the chamber president called, spoke with Ann and said the chamber would no longer be sponsoring the 4th of July celebrations and would she and her committee carry on.
And carry on they did!
In 1998 the group was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, becoming the Lago Vista July 4th Council, Inc. Experiencing heavy rains, three floods and often more than 100 degree temperatures over the years, the Council fearlessly plods along.
One year, politics hung heavily over the meetings as both a LVPOA president and an owner of a large Lago Vista business were both on the Council. We all but witnessed fisticuffs at meetings. Lake Travis flooded that year, so the celebration was held on American Drive next to the now defunct Inn on Lake Travis. Fireworks were delayed because there was a car accident on Boggy Ford at which the fire chief dutifully attended. He received an applause, complete with whistles and cheers when he eventually came to the party and authorized the start of the fireworks soon after 10:00 PM.
A few years back the celebration encountered a rain storm. A LVPD policeman drove down the Dawn Drive parade route encouraging parade watchers to hold tight. Proudly, the soaked floats eventually floated down the route to a rousing applause from north shore residents and visitors. The Bar K Recreational Park activities, including sports, music and vendors were canceled. TV announcements brought a huge crowd down to the park to watch the fireworks show that night.
The 21st Century:
This century the Firecracker 5K Race and We’ve Got Talent Contest have been added to the day’s activities along with an online auction and the ability to donate by using PayPal.
All types of music have been incorporated over the years, mostly played by local bands. A mainliner band typically has been hired. Vendors bring in varieties of food, with high emphasis on local non-profit organizations providing festive meals and snacks.
Budgets topped out at around $40,000, with the fireworks running between $10,000-17,500 over the years. The fireworks show amount depends solely on the amount of contributions received. Besides fireworks the celebration includes necessities such as insurance, security, port-a-lets, clean-up crew, decorations, marketing, electrician and great music. The list keeps growing.
Experience has taught the Council many hard lessons. One year Ann received a call at midnight from the park manager, saying, “Get down here and clean up this disaster. Your volunteers never showed up.” So early in the morning, Ann arrived at the park. What a disaster indeed! After her many-hour experience the Council has since hired a dependable two-man crew.
A cancellation is even more devastating for the Council. Several times the celebration has been cancelled at the last minute. That means a financial disaster because many items for the day’s event have already been paid for, including the fireworks deposit and insurance. A cancellation results in no contributions being received the day of the event. The following year there is not enough money to pay for the fireworks deposit that is due in February. One year, due to a cancellation the year before, the Council had approximately $1000 in the bank in February. It takes many years to crawl out from a financial crisis, such as from a cancelled celebration due to a flood or storm. Just one of the many issues the Council continues to meet and solve.
What a fun celebration is planned for 2017. AND…you will participate in the display. Bring your cell phone along to the celebration The Lago Vista Golf Club on Outpost Trace and Rimrock and see and enjoy the music synchronized to the fireworks.! Tell your friends.
With all the challenges faced in the past, what keeps a Council member wanting to continue to contribute his or her time? Patriotism! Love of country! Bill of Rights! And the love of being a Lago Vistan.
It was my privilege to work with these fine Americans who annually give of their time and talents to produce and execute the annual Lago Vista July 4th experience enjoyed by residents and guests alike.
President of the 4th of July Council
The Lago Vista 4th of July Council, Inc.:
If you have any questions regarding any of the above council members and their responsibilities, contact us here
Your donations determine the grandeur and length of the Fireworks Display!