Local family keeps Fourth of July tradition alive for 14 years, watch fireworks in same spot

TULSA -- Amid the thousands expected to attend the annual Freedom Fest fireworks show in Midtown Tulsa is one family whose 14 year tradition has included getting to their favorite spot at 7 a.m.

For Maggi and Randy Stephens, the Fourth of July is a time to put life on hold for just one day and relax along the Arkansas River.

"It's just one day that we can take a break away from the hustle and bustle. We don't have to travel very far because we live fairly close to downtown, and we can just kick back and relax and the fireworks are amazing," Maggi says.

In order to do that, Maggi, Randy and their out-of-town family assembled under one tree near 20th and Riverside a little after 7 a.m.

"Out here, it reminds me of when I was a little kid, you know. You get out here and you just play outside, act like a fool and it's just a lot of fun. You don't even notice the time go by if you're doing it right," Randy says.

Doing it right for Maggi and Randy means having a variety of things to do to pass the time. It can be a 16 hour day.

"We've got kids toys and tables and picnic stuff and games and frozen water jugs. And most importantly, a back scratcher because there's lots of bugs on this tree," Maggi says as she tests it out.

Cooler temperatures make the day even better for the dozen, who use the tree for shade when they're not playing washers in the sun or going for a walk along the river.

Randy calls the explosions his favorite part of the July 4 holiday, but he doesn't celebrate without remembering the US servicemen and women who died protecting the freedoms he and his family get to enjoy.

"I hold our men in service in very high esteem, and I know that today is in honor of them. And if it wasn't for those guys out there dying on our behalf,  we wouldn't have nice days like this to relax and have a good time with our families."

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