by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--A lot of hard work has been put in to make sure it's a success.
This will be the 16th annual Firecracker Fandango in downtown Odessa. The planning and work has been going on for months and that included Sunday. Since last year's party was a bust, organizers want to make sure this year is a great one.
"This is a very family oriented event. We've got stuff, for the little kids, for the teens," Nancy Wells, Executive Director of Main Street Odessa, said.
Crews have been busy closing off streets, setting up fences and bleachers and getting things in place for the crowd that's expected for the 2011 Firecracker Fandango. With 16 years of experience on their side, Main Street Odessa is pulling out all the stops this July 4th.
"We've got some great entertainment coming. We've got two entertainment stages. We're doing something new, on the main stage this year, we've got the Miss Firecracker Fandango Contest that we're kicking it off with," Wells explained.
One of the stages will feature country music at its best with Aaron Watson and the legendary Texas Tornados. But, four blocks away, will be something with a little more teen appeal.
"A teen stage, where we've got three Christian rock groups. Soulstrum, which is a local group, The Wedding and Stellar Kart, which are quite well known throughout the U.S.," Wells added.
This Fandango will have something for every member of the family including crafts, games, cheerleading and tae-kwon-do demonstrations. And how can you forget the food?
According to Wells, "We've got every kind of food imaginable, that we're doing here. From turkey legs to funnel cakes to tacos to roast corn, shaved ice. All sorts of delicious stuff."
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, Wells says there's something else that's new, "We've got a mechanical bull this year. It comes with a big inflatable base so, when you do get thrown off, you get to lay in somewhere soft."
Fandango will take up four city blocks from 4th and Grant, west to Medical Center Hospital on Washington. Two gates will get you into the fun.
"Both gates are off of 5th Street, this year, 5th and Lee and 5th and Sam Houston," Wells said.
Last year was the only time Firecracker Fandango has ever been canceled and that was because it rained so hard, it flooded the venue. This year, it's been hot and dry and the economy seems to be in pretty good shape, too.
Nancy Wells and Main Street Odessa have some high hopes for this holiday celebration, "If you look, historically, our normal temperatures are between 92 and 96, on July 4th. We've had crowds, over the last ten years, that have ranged from about 16,000 to 20,000. We're looking forward to a big crowd. We will be having fireworks this year."