Copperas Cove celebrates the 4th with a bang
By PAMELA GRANT
“It’s always bigger and better,” said Casey Wiggins who has made the fireworks show happen year after year. “This year we went bigger and did two days instead of one day, and we brought in a big lineup of really popular Christian mainstream artists.”
This year marks Wiggins’ 3rd year hosting Cove Life’s annual 4th of July Celebration at Copperas Cove’s City Park which took place Monday and Tuesday. This year’s event featured five popular Christian-based entertainers, 23 market vendors, 26 food vendors, and more than 20 inflatables.
Each day of the two-day event culminated in a fantastic light display. Monday night featured an impressive drone show and Tuesday night featured an even more dazzling display of a fireworks show.
Wiggins said his fireworks show began small in his neighborhood in 2018. Before long, his shows gathered more than 500 spectators.
“We saw how big it was getting,” said Wiggins. “We decided we wanted to do it for the community.”
Wiggins lives in Salado but attends the Cove Life church in Copperas Cove. In 2021, he approached the Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department about doing a 4th of July event at the park. He said that they were a little nervous about it at first but were extremely supportive of his efforts.
That first year, the event drew 5,000 people. Last year they increased to 7,500 people. This year they expect to have between 10,000 and 12,000 people at the event, which has now grown too big for one day and has expanded to two days.
“I love bringing community together,” said Wiggins. “I love seeing fellowship, people from all different walks of life getting together and spending time together. Last year, I loved watching the kids and families come out and seeing the positive interactions and the good energy. I love seeing everyone having a good time and the smiles everywhere. It gives them a break from whatever is going on in their lives and the whole community just gets to have some fun.”
Wiggins said that he believes in outdoing himself each year with bigger and better fireworks displays. He seeks to improve the entertainment and provide the community with a blast each year. He thought adding the drone show was a great way to offer the community a unique 4th of July twist this year.
The drone show was a big hit as drones lit up the sky displaying various images including a waving flag, flying eagle, and even the Cove Life logo.
Shouts of “Wow”, “Awesome” and “That’s pretty cool” could be heard throughout the show. Many tried to guess what each shape was going to be as they formed. Some appreciated the mini story of going from horse and carriage to modern car while others liked the canon which shot out a rocket and became a mini “firework” display. The “melting” popsicle was another favorite causing lots of laughs and one child to shout out “It’s melting!!!”
For others, the impressive music line-up was the whole reason they attended the event. Event performers were Jason Crabb, Sanctus Real, We are Messengers, Eddie James Ministries, Eddie James Dance Worship Team, A.I.G.A Worship, and Colin Stough.
“It’s amazing. My favorite is the music,” said Aliyah Matchan (6) about the 4th of July Celebration. She was especially looking forward to Colin Stough’s performance. “I saw him on (American) Idol.”
Stough finished 3rd on American Idol and won the American Idol Encore contest.
“It’s really neat to have a concert with Christian-based music,” said Rachael Matchan, Aliyah Matchan’s grandmother. The two came down from Lampasas to attend the event. “We were pretty stoked to see Colin Stough. The fact that he came all the way to itty bitty Cove says a lot…This is amazing.”
For most, though, the fireworks display from the Cove Life annual 4th of July Celebration is what they look forward to the most each year. Firework after firework lit up the sky culminating in a breathtaking finale.
“It was way better than last year, and I thought last year was impressive,” said Patricia Grant about the fireworks.
“It was really intense,” said Michael Escota who attended the event with his wife and three children. “The finale was crazy! It was vibrating my chest.”