As many across the nation are celebrating Independence Day, here at home thousands are at F.T. Proctor Park were in Utica tonight for the city's annual 4th of July festivities.
Many were dressed in red, white and blue, enjoying the weather, live music and a variety of different foods at Proctor Park.
Festivities began early this afternoon and are wrapping up tonight with the big event, the fire works!
"This event we pulled together in six weeks," said coordinator Gene Allen.
Six weeks of planning for thousands of residents of the City of Utica to celebrate our country's independence.
Gene Allen, one of the organizers of the celebration says this year the city anticipated more attendees to come out and join in on the festivities because the 4th of July fell in the middle of the week.
Many came out to the park, relaxing under the shade and even getting a taste of Utica.
"My wife is eating a beef skewer. I don't know what my little one is eating but it's delicious," said Richard D., a Utica resident.
"We tried to do while we lined up the vendors to try and have a cross section of ethnicity as far as the food we are serving. You have to realize Utica has 43 different languages that are spoken. We did a little research. We are number 4 in the county as far as diversity in languages," explained Allen.
One Vietnamese vendor, Quy Aversa says tonight is great to share her culture with others in the community.
"Different ethnic groups can come here and share their backgrounds and their roots," said Aversa.
Quy says she was a refugee and came to America in her 20s, and is now a U.S. citizen.
She says she has a great appreciation for her new country.
"This place in America is so unique and so different from other places I've been to. It's great. It's a free country and it's the best place to live," said Aversa.
There were other vendors serving Italian, Chinese and Greek food.
Allen says they changed the theme song for this 4th of July from 'Coming to America' to 'Coming to Utica.'