I can remember, even as a little girl, the excitement and anticipation for the Fourth of July celebrations. For our family, the day usually consisted of a picnic at Deep Creek Lake or Pleasant Valley - Mom's delicious picnic foods and snacks and Dad fixing the charcoal and cooking up burgers and hot dogs.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
I can remember, even as a little girl, the excitement and anticipation for the Fourth of July celebrations. For our family, the day usually consisted of a picnic at Deep Creek Lake or Pleasant Valley - Mom's delicious picnic foods and snacks and Dad fixing the charcoal and cooking up burgers and hot dogs.
If we went to Pleasant Valley in Garrett County, we were able to take the family dog - after all, she loved to go swimming in the lake there! My brother Oscar loved to try to catch salamanders and crawdads and a variety of bugs and critters. My sisters and I loved the beach...building sandcastles and making moats and even a swimming hole in the sand. And, of course - we all loved the water.
But, after the day of picnicking and swimming and wiffleball or kickball, we counted the hours until it was time to head to Keyser for family pictures with the Keyser Lion (and it's still there!!), to get funnel cakes and enjoy the fireworks!
There was nothing better than having a nice little suntan from the day at the lake, and then sitting on the big family blanket spread out on the ground - waiting on Dad to bring us the funnel cakes or sno-cones. It was just so much fun!  We savored every bite - waiting until the sky turned to dusk, lighting our sparklers and running around making designs in the air.
As the time drew near, we four kids moved as close as we could get to the yellow caution tape (with Dad yelling, "move back!" a zillion times) We all loved the fireworks - the big booms, the colorful displays, the whistles and most of all - running to catch the discarded pieces and debris of the fireworks once they cooled down.
Why? Who knows!!! But, for some reason, finding those pieces was like finding grand old treasures! It was like we held on to something that was high in the sky, and these souvenirs reminded us of every single Fourth of July when being a child was so easy, so fun, so simple.
Now, as an adult, when I share stories of my Fourth of July memories, my older grandchildren wonder "what???" So, I keep my memories of fireworks in my heart, and start and continue new traditions with my grandchildren. But always, going to as many fireworks displays every single year is on my "to-do" list. And, I think it always will be.
For those of you who love fireworks as much as I do, here is a list of events coming up in the area where fireworks will be this year. Get out your calendar, mark the dates and locations of where you want to go, and keep the list on your refrigerator. I have included phone numbers, websites, and Facebook links for your reference, and in case of inclement weather, you can check for rain dates.
Plan your picnics or family activities around the fireworks schedule this year. Enjoy the simple life of food, family, fun and fireworks...make this year the year you take time for living the simple life. Slow down, pack a picnic basket, spread out that blanket, laugh with children. It really is that simple. And, it matters.
* JUNE 20-24 - 68th annual Mineral County Fair, Mineral County Fairgrounds, Fairway Drive, Fort Ashby, WV...$12 admission/$6 seniors...6 p.m.-midnight...entertainment, Midway rides and attractions, exhibits, livestock, vendors and more...fireworks on Friday, June 23, at 10 p.m.…for more information, call 304-298-3712...
* JUNE 23-25 - 40th annual Grantsville Days, sponsored by Grantsville Lions Club, Grantsville, Maryland…parade downtown starts at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, followed by food and games all weekend at Grantsville Community Park on Miller Street, professional wrestling, live music, and fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m…
* JULY 1 - Paw Paw Festival 2017 - Paw Paw Park, next to Route 9 in downtown Paw Paw, WV...starts at 5 p.m.…live music, barbeque and other foods and beverages, fireworks at dark...
* JULY 1 - Fireworks Train, Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, 149 Eagle Drive, Romney, WV...7-11:30 a.m…five-hour round trip from Romney to Moorefield, WV...to order tickets
* JULY 2 and 4 - Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, 1001 Lafayette Avenue, Farmington, Pennsylvania…fireworks 9 p.m. on Sunday and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday
* JULY 3 - Fireworks, Westmar Middle School, Lonaconing...gates open at 5 p.m. for kiddie rides, bouncy houses, raffles, games, music, foods and beverages...fireworks start at 9:45 p.m…one of the area's best fireworks events!
* JULY 4 - Keyser 4th of July, South End Park (across from McDonalds), Keyser...vendors, music, Ally Norris 3-5 p.m., Nacho and Chili 6-9 p.m…food, vendors, fireworks...
* JULY 4 - First annual Fourth of July Parade, Keyser,...4:30 p.m…sponsored by Club Tropix.
* JULY 4 - Independence Day at 13 Canal Place, Cumberland, MD...7-11 p.m…entertainment by Potomac Concert Band starting at 8 p.m., then fireworks starting after dusk...FREE family-friendly evening
* JULY 4 - Fireworks, presented by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, Wisp Resort, 396 Marsh Hill, McHenry, Maryland…approx 9:30 p.m…check this link for best locations to watch display...rain date July 5...check this link in case of inclement weather
* JULY 8 - Lawn Party and Chicken Barbeque, Burlington Fire Department, 1649 Northwestern Turnpike, Burlington...barbeque chicken and sides, beverages, horseshoe tournament, Cornhole tournament, and fireworks at dark...https://www.facebook.com/events/390337008032542/?ti=cl
* JULY 14-22 - Allegany County Fair at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, 11480 Moss Avenue SW, Cumberland...gates open 4-11 a.m… rides start at 5 p.m…animals, exhibits, demolition derby, musical performances, games, raffles, concessions, and fireworks on Jul 14 and 21 at 10:45 p.m…for more information, call (301) 729-1200 or visit www.alleganycofair.org