July 05--NORMAN -- There were inflatables, food vendors, live music and family games, but many families made their fun the old fashioned way Friday at Reaves Park. From water gun fights to kids riding skateboards or kicking a ball around, the annual Norman Day celebration of America's independence was an opportunity for community to come together.
There was food -- some cooked on grills near the park's picnic tables or set up to tailgate, others bought tasty treats from vendors in the park or brought their own, from McDonald's kids meals to fancier catered fare.
Newly-elected Ward 6 City Council member Jerry Lang was there with wife Connie and several members of their family.
"We're always here," Lang said.
The Langs arrived early, staked a claim with blankets in the shade near a north side picnic table and set up a small grill.
"We haven't missed many in 30 years," Connie Lang said. The couple raised their children in Norman and still share the Independence Day celebration with them at Reaves Park.
"We've been here many years when it was in the 100s, so this is amazing," Connie Lang said.
The couple said they started their day with a 30 mile bike ride at Lake Draper and they were ready to eat, relax and watch fireworks.
Tom Marak was there with his dog, Palladin. It was Pal's first public outing and the well mannered dog was showing out well for Marak. Palladin, nicknamed Pal, was a rescue dog who was once considered unadoptable.
Marak took Pal in and became pack leader. The community outing was a tremendous success, Marak said.
The Norman Police Department bike team was on hand, dressed in their new black-and-blue uniforms that are upgraded bike jerseys and shorts. The new equipment was paid for with Public Safety Sales Tax funds. The new uniforms include long pants for winter.
Master Police Officer Marcus Smallwood was trying out a new bicycle prototype equipped with flashing lights. The NPD bike team works events such as festivals, parades and OU football games. Often, at a community event such as Norman Day, the officers help find missing children who have wandered away from their parents.
Paramedic Jason Carter of the EMSStat bike team was also on duty. EMSStat can have as many as eight bike medics at an event, depending on the need.
"We can do everything," Carter said. "We work a lot with patrol and ride with them."
With officers on duty and the band playing live music, there was nothing left for people to do but relax, play and have fun.
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