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Fest, fireworks light up night





Destini and Zoe Harmon were having some mother-daughter fun Thursday night at the Wild West Festival. And they were looking forward to more during their visit to Hays.

The Harmons live in Loveland, Colo., which, because of recent wildfires and high temperatures, is under a fire ban.

Zoe spends the summer with her dad, Brett Harmon, who travels the country while working for Lone Star Geophysical Surveys, a seismic service company for the oil and gas exploration industry.

LSGS happens to be in Hays this week, so Harmon's wife and their 15-year-old son, Dustin, came to Kansas to spend the holiday weekend together as a family.

"We were excited when we heard there would be fireworks," Destini Harmon said as she and her daughter played a game at the festival's carnival site.

People found their way to various places throughout the city on the pleasant summer evening to watch the annual fireworks display sponsored by the Wild West Festival.

Marcus and Mila Albers from Hays appeared to be enjoying their first Fourth of July fireworks display.

The 3-month-old twins -- snuggled in the arms of their parents, Bobby and Jessica Albers -- were awake and bright-eyed as their older sister, 4-year-old Luca, played nearby with a cousin, Taylor Minges from Denver.

"We're just all watching fireworks together," Bobby Albers said. "We were over at the carnival and decided to stay and watch (the fireworks)."

"Doesn't seem to bother them at all," the twins' mother said of the noise as the fireworks lit up the sky.

The Albers family was among the hundreds of people who lined the dike around Big Creek on the south edge of town.

While babies and toddlers were being pushed in strollers, one young boy made his way around the carnival on crutches, his left foot encased in a cast. And some older viewers tried their luck at maneuvering their walkers amidst the huge power cords that line the carnival grounds.

Most agreed even more people were out and about than usual because of the recent temperatures in the 80s and 90s instead of the usual 100-plus degree heat.

"Really nice weather here," said Destini Harmon, who not only was impressed with the mild temperatures but also being able to find some entertainment while visiting her husband in rural Kansas.

They are in for a treat Saturday, one of WWF's busiest days that will feature soccer and baseball tournaments, a health improvement workout and a 5K run/walk, historical re-enactments -- and a 10 a.m. parade down Main Street. The grand finale for the 2013 festival will be a performance by the Little River Band, an Australian band just two years shy of its 40th anniversary.