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Tradition brings families to War Memorial Park

July 04, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Spending Independence Day at War Memorial Park is a tradition for many area families.

Four generations of the Brown family of Jefferson County, W.Va., were celebrating July 4 at the park on Tennessee Avenue in Martinsburg.

"Ever since I was little girl, this is where we spend the Fourth of July to celebrate our country," said Becky Sims of Charles Town, W.Va., who was grilling hamburgers for the family.

Her mother, Anna Brown, 84, said she and her husband were married in 1944, and her in-laws introduced her to the park on Independence Day that year.

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"This is where we've been coming," Brown said.

Brown, Sims and her daughter, Stephanie Miller, and her son Caden, 3, all wore patriotic red, white and blue.

"I'm very proud of our county," Sims said.

For the past six years, Terri Sizemore of Ranson, W.Va., brought her family to celebrate the Fourth of July at the park.

Sizemore was at the swimming pool Sunday watching her nieces play in the water.

They bring lunch and dinner, and stay until the fireworks are over, she said.

"I arrived at 9 a.m. to get a good table. I like to come here to celebrate Independence Day," Sizemore said.

Vendors were available at the celebration, which included entertainment by Mr. Extravaganza, the magic of Michael T and music by the Mountaineer Blue Grass before Sunday night's fireworks show began.

Martinsburg resident Kevin Abshire watched his grandson play in the park's swimming pool. He said he learned how to swim in that pool many years ago.

"We are taking advantage of the day to celebrate the Fourth of July," Abshire said. "The fireworks are usually real good."

During the day, about 2,000 people come to War Memorial Park to celebrate July Fourth, said Steve Catlett, director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation.

An estimated 5,000 people come to watch the fireworks, Catlett said.

He said for safety reasons, the fireworks are set off at Townsend Field, which is about one-quarter mile west of the park, but people can see them from the park.

Berkeley County pyrotechnicians Bob Frankenberry and J.R. McDonald volunteer their services to put on the show,Catlett said.

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