ELYRIA — Khamren Ingram stood near his dad with his eyes toward the night sky and a smile on his face during the city’s early Independence Day celebration at West Park.
Seconds later, a firework lit the sky in a blaze of white, followed by a crackle.
The 4-year-old turned to his dad, Emanuel Ingram, wide-eyed and thrilled.
Emanuel Ingram, of Elyria, recognized his son’s expression. It brought back memories of his own childhood.
“I am happy they brought the fireworks back because I grew up watching them too,” Emanuel Ingram said before handing his son a slice of pizza.
The fireworks, attended by thousands, were possible after $45,000 was raised through a campaign led by Mayor Holly Brinda.
The city last sponsored a fireworks show in 2008 at West Park on Foster Avenue. Before that, the show was at Cascade Park.
Bringing back the pyrotechnic show also brought the community together.
Elyria resident Robin Kane, along with her two sons, Epic, 4, and Onyx, 3, and her mother, Barb Kane, sat on blankets waiting for the show to begin.
“We have been here since 7 (p.m.),” Barb Kane said.
Her grandsons’ excitement was too much to contain as the sky grew darker.
Waving glow swords through the air, the boys ran around as if they were creating their own fireworks show.
“I am very excited for my kids, and I love fireworks too,” Robin Kane said.
In previous years, Robin Kane has driven to Lorain to watch the fireworks show, but prefers to stay close to home.
“I was hoping Elyria would have theirs again,” Robin Kane said.
The Welsh family sat together on a blanket, patiently awaiting the arrival of the first boom of the night.
“Fireworks!” Hunter Welsh, 3, said to his mom, Jennifer Welsh. His sister, Adrianna Welsh, 2, was equally excited and hoped to see a pink firework.
Russell Welsh said he remembers sitting at Cascade Park as a child, watching the Independence Day celebration.
Moments later, Neil Diamond’s patriotic song, “America,” blasted through the speakers and the crowd began cheering.
“I am glad Elyria brought them back because every city should have them,” Russell Welsh said.