Two communities -- one hard hit by Hurricane Katrina a decade ago, another suffering through drought and an economic downturn -- will see Fourth of July fireworks celebrations restored this year after their selection as Destination America's "Red, White and You" contest.
This is the third year the Discovery-owned network, in tandem with USA Today, has asked communities across the country to make a case for why their hometowns deserve to have a big patriotic party thrown for their populaces. Out of 2,600 entries, the winning communities are:
- Waveland, Miss., on the Gulf Coast, which will celebrate its recovery and rebuilding accomplishments with the first July Fourth fireworks celebration in a decade;
- Oroville, Calif., which will restore a past tradition of a fireworks display at the 770-foot-tall dam that provides the leading water source for the entire state -- but which has seen the lake dwindle in paralyzing drought conditions and suffered economic hardships that have pre-empted the pyrotechnics in recent years. (See photo, via ABCnews.com; credit Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images|Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.)
“Waveland and Oroville captured our attention with their stories of recovery and resilience while their incredible display of hometown pride and American spirit are what makes them especially deserving of the Red, White and You grand prize celebration,” Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America, said in a release. “Independence Day is a time to bring communities together, and Destination America is privileged to support these towns as they honor their pasts while working hard to ensure a bright future.”
“I am delighted that Destination America and USA Today have chosen the beautiful City of Waveland for a July 4th celebration," mayor Mike Smith said in the release. "Our people are very resilient, but this will help in the healing process to recover from a devastating hurricane such as Katrina. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of rebuilding since Katrina than to have this celebration.”
“We are so honored to receive the Red, White, and You celebration hosted by Destination America and USA Today," Oroville mayor Linda Dahlmeier said similarly. "Oroville has grown through the gold rush, the logging industry, and the monumental build of the Oroville Dam. Oroville is the beginning of the State Water Project and the California drought has been difficult for everyone, including us. This 4th of July celebration will encourage our community and remind us of our rich history.”
Last summer, the festivities were held in Prescott, Ariz., in recovery from deadly wildfires that killed 19 brave firefighters, and in hard-hit Hamtramck, Mich.
The first Red, White and You parties, in 2013, took place in Union Beach, N.J., a coastal town recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and Fayetteville, N.C., a community that enthusiastically supports its military partners at Fort Bragg, as Destination America noted.
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