It's the night that almost didn't happen.
Until a few days ago, Fort Dodge was slated to spend the nation's birthday without its fireworks display.
Thanks to a last-minute donation by Kevin and Karen Alstott, owners of C&S Products, the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in the air over the city became a reality.
-Messenger photos by Hans Madsen
Fireworks burst in the sky Wednesday night over downtown Fort Dodge, thanks to a last-minute donation. The annual event drew a large, appreciative crowd.
To enjoy a good fireworks display, the employees of Doyle Construction, located on First Avenue North near Third Street, brought a grill along and had a cookout.
On the menu, South Dakota-caught walleye, salmon from Wisconsin and a host of hotdogs, sausages and other snacks to enjoy.
Mike Doyle, owner of the company, said he was glad to see the fireworks.
"It's cool they're doing it," he said.
Of course, once the show started, he and his crew enjoyed an almost unrestricted view from the old creamery building.
"We have roof access," Doyle said.
Keith Yetmar was handling the walleye cooking; his batter recipe is, of course, a secret, but he said it's one of the keys to a good fillet.
He, too, was happy about the fireworks.
Nearby, on Central Avenue, Debby Roe had found a parking spot for her convertible with a view of the sky.
It was the first year for the convertible; last year, she used a pickup.
"The truck was much more comfortable," she said.
Her grandchildren, Chloe Cathcart, 11, and Maddie Cathcart, 14, were watching fireworks with her.
The trio was making a night of it.
"We went and had ice cream," Roe said, "then we're doing a movie night."
While the film "Independence Day" might have been a logical choice, it was not on their marquee.
"We're going to watch something scary, then something funny," Roe said. "It was Maddie's idea."
Joe Gilbert, who has been leading the Fort Dodge fireworks fundraising efforts since 2006, was on hand for the show.
"I'm happy and relieved," Gilbert said. "All at the same time."