Brutal honesty

… brutally blue, that is:

“Let’s be honest, this is the real reason anyone comes here:”

Rockets red glare

No other line from any other patriotic tune comes to mind more readily than "rockets red glare" when you look at this photo:

Fireworks over Holiday World

It had been a long, wonderful day … and I'm so glad I dragged my bones all the way down to Hyena Falls to take a crack at photographing our annual fireworks celebration.

Armed with just my trusty iPhone4 (and for once in my left-handed life, remembering which way to hold the phone for rightside-up photos) I snapped away madly.

The phone's slow shutter took its time, but did catch a few memorable shots, if I do say so myself.

By the way, if you're a thrill-seeker, Hyena Falls was the place to be for our fireworks. The ground trembled and our ears throbbed with the closeness of the pyrotechnics.

It's sort of like a ride on Voyage – you know you're safe, but it sure messes with your mind.

Meanwhile, Nathan had the good camera up on top of ZOOMbabwe, grabbing some cool wide shots.

Fireworks over Holiday World

Giraffica's tower and Voyage's lift hill are each about 165 feet tall. These fireworks go halfway to heaven …

Fireworks over Bakuli

But I must say my favorite photo was tweeted later that night by a dad, who said it was okay to use this darling shot of his daughter, Seven, with her two best friends.

Holiday and Kitty Claws with a little friend

Thanks to everyone who spent America's birthday with us. Many happy returns of the day to us all.

Stars and stripes forever

Yes, despite the few drips of rain, we do plan to have our fireworks show tonight at 9pm CT.

Thanks to Chad at WFIE-TV for helping to spread the word:

Fireworks are still on for tonight!

Tonight, we will dedicate our fireworks ceremony to all the servicemen and servicewomen who have sacrificed  so much to keep us free.

Here's one military family, from Louisville, posing for a photo with park president Matt Eckert.

Matt and the Gatz family

Sergeant John Gatz and his wife, Christina, have three children. The Operation Helping Heroes organization in Louisville introduced us. Sergeant Gatz served in the Gulf War and again in Afghanistan; he is now home with his family and working to help other disabled veterans.

We honor and thank the Gatz family – and every military family – for their service. Their selfless dedication to our nation ensures that we the people are able to celebrate yet another Independence Day.

Zenerosity

So who won that HoliAuction we held to help tornado victims in Oklahoma?

Meet Keith.

Keith Wakes up with Voyage

After quite the bidding war in our HoliAuction, Keith triumphed, winning a prize pack overflowing with Holiday World memorabilia.

All proceeds (plus some generous donations from our staff, matched by the park) went to support the American Red Cross's tornado relief efforts.

Keith's auction winnings included being treated like royalty for a day at Holiday World.

At the last minute, unfortunately, his family and friends weren't able to join him in the trip from St. Louis, so Keith came solo.

Keith is a member of ACE, the American Coaster Enthusiasts. And enthusiasts have this thing called a Zen ride.

It's when you ride all by yourself …

Keith on the Lift Hill

Enthusiasts don't wake up with a cup of coffee in the morning. They get the day started right with adrenaline!

Keith sure looks awake as he races back to Voyage station on the cross-over! We have no doubt that he rode hands up the entire 1.2 miles.

Keith's Zen Ride

Zen ride.

Keith's auction winnings included a cabana for the day and his choice of lunch menu, which was corn dogs and fried Oreos.

Lunch companions included Coaster Cat Sean, Special Events Manager Ashley, and Communications Manager Nathan.

Keith's Lunch Delivery

Thanks to Keith – and everyone who joined in relief efforts this spring.

Rise and shine!

We've all been there:

Just between cousins

What the heck, Eli …