WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- With fireworks scheduled to decorate the skies after dark on Thursday night in Watkins Glen, people from around the Southern Tier traveled to Clute Park to celebrate all day long. 

Many people were seen huddling around the grill, devouring hot dogs, and blasting patriotic classics from rock n’ roll singer Bruce Springsteen. Many said today is also about celebrating freedom and American pride. 

“Your freedom, how we got here today, and why we are free,” Alexis Pattengale said. 

Pattengale packed up the car with her family and drove from Corning to Watkins Glen to celebrate the holiday on Seneca Lake. She said patriotism is important to her family. 

“We come from a long line of military background and a lot of people that have served us to have our freedoms,” she said. “We like to honor that and respect that.”  

Kyle Lingerfelt traveled with his friends and family from Horseheads. After an afternoon filled with grilling, Lingerfelt said it is important to take time to reflect on why family can be together today. 

“We’ve got to thank all those in service that risk themselves for us to have these great days and these great moments with our family,” Lingerfelt said. “For us, it’s all about being unified...spending the day together.” 

Michael Fassett, a Horseheads resident, said there is no better place to celebrate than at Clute Park. 

“It’s celebrating family to me...that’s what the Fourth of July is,” Fassett said. “There’s a lot of kids and a lot of families out here and it’s cool to see a traditional, small-town hangout.” 

Kashmir Taylor traveled from Elmira with her friends and family to spend the day in Watkins Glen. She said a day like Independence Day brings communities together. 

“Being able to come together as a community and be able to enjoy all different aspects of life,” Taylor said.