Thousands attended a variety of events to mark the Fourth of July a little early

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 01:35:03-04

Thousands of people showed up to fireworks displays a day early. Throughout the Valley, people were ringing in Independence Day on the 3rd of July, just to get into the spirit.

The night skies lit up with colorful explosions at various points across town. At the Westgate Firework Fest, the parking lots were packed early. They had two stages set up with bands, games for kids, a splash pad and a beer garden.

The fireworks display started at about 9 p.m. and lasted for a half hour. People cheered after the grand finale.

One family from Bisbee described the display as "amazing."

"I felt like I was in Disneyland again," said Cecilia Acosta.

One heat related illness was reported at the Westgate Entertainment District, before the fireworks show.

In the town of Carefree, hundreds of people filled up local bars and restaurants early in the day, to enjoy the fireworks display there.

Jeff Price, the owner of the Horny Toad restaurant, said the 3rd of July tradition started there about 15 years ago. It was good for business as it brought in a lot of visitors, and restaurants offered many drink and dinner specials.

Even some non-profits were cashing in on the patriotism. The Tierra Madre Horse sanctuary had a table set up, selling red, white, and blue paintings and T-shirts created by the horses.

"Our horses have always painted pictures, it's what they do. What we had them do this time is paint some red, white, and blue ones," said Executive Director Jim Gath.

Thousands also packed into Wet N Wild, a place to get away from the desert heat. The water park had plenty of activity for its unique 4th of July celebration.

"You get a water park too. It's not just a fireworks show. You get rides, slides, fun, sun, and fireworks," said Andrea Harvey, the Director of Marketing at the water park.

The park stayed open until 9 p.m., with the fireworks display starting at about 8:30 PM. People could enjoy the pools and slides while watching the show.

The park was also holding a special "Salute to the Heroes" weekend, which meant free park admission for all active duty and retired military, and first responders. Their friends and family would get a 50% discount. The special lasts through Monday.

Plenty of celebrations are still planned for Monday to mark the 240th birthday of the United States. For a full list, click here.