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White Plains Hosts 'Absolutely the Best' Fireworks

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Marsha and Tony Chetti began staking out their spot at the White Plains Independence Day celebration three and a half hours before the fireworks began. This year the Yorktown couple added two American flag-themed balloons to their usual blanket and small food spread. The stars and stripes helped their family spot each other from within the crowds gathering across the White Plains High School’s backyard.

“We got here at about 5:30 and there was a still a whole lot of people here,” said Tony Chetti, who used to live in White Plains.

Crowds were unavoidable, according to Chetti who said that he’d sampled Westchester’s fireworks and concluded that White Plains’ Fourth of July display was “absolutely the best.”

White Plains official Independence Day celebration began a few minutes after 9 p.m. with a flag presentation ceremony and councilman Dennis Power’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Mayor Thomas Roach then cued in the fireworks by counting down from ten. Suddenly the glow sticks had competition from the shimmering explosions above and the horns were barely heard above the fireworks’ crackles. However, the faint smell of bug spray remained constant.

The White Plains’ Fourth of July festival included an inflatable play arena for kids, at least eight bands, a mini dinosaur exhibit and a troupe of animals from around the world.

While there were plenty of activities for all ages, Chetti, took part in many of them with the sacrifices of American soldiers in mind.

“It’s basically the birth of our nation and it honors all the service people who initiated it and served it up to this day,” said Chetti.

Honoring American soldiers was also important to Shlomo, 72, and Lilian Phillips, 66, of Tarrytown.

“It’s a great holiday,” said Lilian Phillips, 66. “It celebrates our freedom from the British and White Plains has one of the best July Fourth celebrations.”

The Phillips have toured local fireworks shows as well. They’ve celebrating the fourth in Mamaroneck, Tarrytown, Yonkers, the east and west sides of New York City, the Kensico Dam, and on the World War II aircraft Intrepid’s deck. However, White Plains is still their Independence Day venue of choice.

“Every year we decide we’re going to come here,” said Shlomo Phillips, who arrived three hours before the fireworks began. “We were on the Intrepid last year watching the fireworks, but this is homier. It’s really friendly.”

Do you have any photos of the White Plains fireworks you'd like to share? If you send shots of your kids playing with the Animal Embassy creatures, we'll add them to our Saturday story on the the iguanas, snakes, and owls. Email your favorite pictures from the holiday weekend to, and we'll put them in our Independence Day album.

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