ORLANDO, Fla. - The city of Orlando hosted its annual Fireworks at the Fountain on the Fourth of July and thousands of people made their way to Lake Eola early in the day Friday for the event.
"I'm local and I know how packed this gets. If you don't get an early spot, you're not getting your spot, so I always come early," said Eusebia Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has brought her family to the event for the past 11 years. They showed up at 2 p.m. Thursday to claim their spot on the north side of the lake for a clear view of the fireworks that will be set off on the other side at 9:10 p.m.
"We just go around the vendors. We hear the music and there's people singing, different bands, different people, so we enjoy them. I take my granddaughter to the playground a little bit and we just wait for the fireworks to happen," Rodriguez told Local 6.
This year, the Orlando Philharmonic was expected to perform at the band shell. The orchestra was scheduled to play music synchronized with the fireworks show.
"We're thrilled! It's our first time and we're very, very thrilled to be here. Great opportunity, great exposure, 100,000 people, what more could you ask for? All we need is good weather," said Carl Rendek, production manager with the Orlando Philharmonic.
Event organizers expected 125,000 to 150,000 people at this year's event. There were three beer gardens, three stages with entertainment and about 70 vendors set up around the lake.
"It's the best place to see fireworks. You're right in the middle of downtown, it's right off Lake Eola, you know, you're in between all of the downtown skyline and it's by far the best fireworks show you're going to see," said Wes Halliwell, the events manager.
From funnel cakes to pulled pork, sausage, popcorn and Chinese food, the vendors started setting things up before 9 a.m. Friday.
"It's a good event. It's a good crowd, it's a lot of people that come back and look for us. This is our second year doing it. I have 600 pounds of meat total so between chicken and pork hopefully I sell out all of that," said Jacob Lundy, with Smokey Jay's BBQ.
David's Foods said it was preparing to sell 500 funnel cakes and began mixing gallons of its homemade funnel cake batter early Friday morning. With about 10 people helping with the six-hour setup process, they had to be mindful of the summer heat.
"We drink plenty of water, keep everyone hydrated, rotate people in and out, take breaks," said Brent Poole, whose father-in-law owns the company.
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