LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After a year without the huge Independence Day celebrations that we are all used to, cities are excited to have them back and better than ever.
People have been looking forward to "Pops on the River" all year. Many said they were excited to be back around a big crowd again, celebrating a holiday the way we are all used to.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Marketing Director, Amanda Copley, said it was really important to have the "essence of community back."
"This is not just any holiday. This is a holiday that everybody can get behind," Copley said. "This is our Independence Day for the United States, so that's important for everyone."
Fireworks, live music, and crowds of people filled the River Market area in downtown Little Rock on Sunday.
"It's great to see everyone out here. People with their kids, eating and having fun and finding goodies," Vanessa Sorrell, a local vendor, said.
After the pandemic caused "Pops on the River" to be cancelled in 2020, Copley described it as "devastating." With that in mind, to be able to host it for the community this year was that much more important.
"It's really wonderful to be back. It feels really good. There's a great vibe here, everyone is really feeling positive because we are back celebrating together," Copley said.
According to Copley, there were some changes that needed to happen to the annual 4th of July celebration as the coronavirus is still affecting many throughout the country.
For example, they encouraged people to stay six-feet-apart around the Amphitheater and had a free vaccine clinic on-site.
"We have our sanitation stations out. Security is monitoring all of that as well, so we are really trying to do our best to make sure that everybody feels safe," she said.
Food trucks lined up one after the other, while local vendors took over the River Market pavilion.
Vendors, like Vanessa Sorrell, are grateful that events like these are happening again so she can promote her business.
"For me, I want this to be my retirement so I needed to get out there as soon as I could. So here I am," she said.
With lines of people and fun in the air, Sorrell was surprised by the crowds but grateful for some sense of normalcy.
"It's great. I mean obviously there's a lot of people out today, so that's amazing," she said.
This was the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's 37th year hosting "Pops on the River."