SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - In spite of showers and uncooperative weather, thousands of township residents attended the annual fireworks display Thursday.
According to the official South Brunswick Township Police Department Twitter account (@SoBrunswickPD), there were approximately 2,500 people in attendance at the annual Independence Day celebration behind Crossroads South Middle School.
Due to the unexpected rain at approximately 6 p.m., the 2015 audience was significantly smaller than the usual crowd, according to Parks and Recreation director Tom Morris.
"Normally we get 4,000 – 6,000 people, and before the rain started, we were approaching that figure. But a lot of people probably went home (because) they (probably) don't want to sit through this," said Morris, "We have to just wait it out, and do the best we can with what we have. We can't control the weather."
However, spectators still claimed to have enjoyed the experience overall.
"The rain's putting a little damper on activities, but everyone's just spread out, and we have the food trucks out...it’s fun," said incoming South Brunswick High School junior Kerrin "Keri" Berger.
According to attendees, the weather did not take the sense of community away from the event.
"It's more community-oriented (at the celebration)," said recent South Brunswick High School graduate Amrita Mojumdar, "Everyone's here, and there are a lot of familiar faces."
The celebration featured a DJ who played popular radio hits during the evening, and a car show featuring Chevrolet Corvettes through the ages.
A number of diverse vendors and food trucks surrounded the edge of the field, including Angelotti's Pizza, an Italian ice truck, Grease Trucks, Food for Friendz, an ice cream truck, Ray's Candy, and Vinny's Restaurant and Pizzeria.
"Before the rain, (business) was great. The rain's kind of slowing things down, but usually this is one of our best events," said Food for Friendz representative incoming South Brunswick High School junior Sukriti Prashar.
Food for Friendz has been raising money for the South Brunswick Food Pantry during the summer months for the past 2-3 years. Chips, candy, drinks, and Indian/ethnic food items are sold at the entrance, according to the organization's members.
In addition to this local charity, members of the Hugs for Brady organization passed out free flower bouquets to attendants throughout the evening.
"We're raising awareness that kids get cancer, just like adults," said Hugs for Brady co-founder Sherrie Wells, "We accept donations, but we ask that at the very least, people like us on Facebook and help spread awareness."
Township residents Mike and Sherrie Wells started the foundation after the death of their young son, Brady, following a battle with a rare form of leukemia.
The charity, which helps young people with cancer, has raised more than $1 million in its first four years of operation.
Fortunately, the weather cleared up at around 9 p.m., just in time for the fireworks display.
The fireworks, accompanied by a patriotic soundtrack, provided a spectacular conclusion to the celebration.