We went to the fireworks and music at Lock 3 in Akron, Ohio. Check. (Just change it to Lakewood Park, where I grew up.)
Parked a distance away and walked to where we needed to be. Check. (parking garage instead of on the street).
Listened to great music by the Akron Symphony. Kinda Check. (Insert dozens of transistor radios here and there, playing different AM stations.)
People spread out their old blankets on the grass or set up chairs. CHECK! Thank God that hasn't changed one bit! That's what made it seem endless, timeless.
Kids were running around. Not as much as we did. It's not the kind of place I'd want my kids running around like a bunch of sugar-crazed hooligans. No swing sets, like in a park. But still fun. I saw a kid jumping rope. Good for you, kid!
Food and drink. Check. Except we lugged picnic baskets and/or coolers. There were vendors here.
Walked uphill back to car and waited forever to get out and on the road. Male driver mumbling about it. Double check! My father had to be the first guy out of the park. He'd be rushing us out of there like he was loading a cargo ship. "Come on, let's GO!" And then he'd bitch and mutter and cuss under his breath in the car while we waited in traffic. My mother would sigh and say, "Now Steve....we could have waited a bit before we left...."
The only appreciable difference was people with cell phones and cameras. Other than that, it was refreshingly the same in many ways. (Lady with stupidly long green mullet hairdo notwithstanding! Who the hell does mullets any more?)
The fireworks are different, more elaborate in some ways but still the same thrill and ooooohs and aaaaaaaahs as when I was little. Chrysanthemum fireworks (see video) are very common now; when I was a kid they were rare.
It was a perfect summer evening, not a cloud in the sky.....