PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some families decided to opt out of the Waterfront Blues Festival and take in the Fourth of July fireworks from the Eastbank Esplanade across the Willamette River, even grabbing their spots as early as 5 p.m. to get that front-row seat to the show.

Every boom and bang sounding across the night sky was accompanied by oohs and ahhs from the ground as people flocked to the waterfront to catch the holiday fireworks.

For the Pooles, watching from the Eastbank Esplanade as a family is a yearly tradition.

“It’s not less crowded, at least later, but it’s just a better atmosphere, I think,” said Nicole Poole, who set up early for the fireworks. “We kind of get to bring our own music and do our own thing.”

For others, this year meant watching the show with friends who have become family while visiting Portland.

“It’s a family tradition since years ago. It’s something we all do as a family and enjoy together, time to just bond with all the community and just enjoy the show,” said Omar, visiting from Texas.

One group decked out in red, white and blue spent the day on scooters along the esplanade, but scouted out spots early along the river for the perfect spot away from the crowds of the blues fest.

“We’ll be here enjoying it from this side. Just because of the crowds, (we) kind of stay away from them just a little bit but we can still enjoy the same experience they’re having over there,” said Coby, visiting from Louisiana.

For many, the visuals of the colorful explosions are their favorite part, but for sound engineer Drew Canulette, his favorite parts are the loud booms of impact and the crackles that follow, as well as the science behind the sound.

“Also when you think of how they get those things launched, the science behind making that rocket shoot up into the air and look pretty and sound impressive, it’s pretty good,” said Canulette.

It’s a perfect end to the holiday, whether you watch from the river, or your couch.