Best 4th of July memory: top this. After a series of back-to-back corporate event speaking engagements, I'm just about to head out to my hometown of Rochelle, Illinois — population 8,000 and going backwards. Without a doubt the best smalltown fireworks display anywhere in the country is in Rochelle. The fireworks are shot from the cornfield by our local firemen into the park across the street. One year glowing embers — actual pieces of the fireworks — fell from the sky in front of us, all around us, and in some cases actually on us.
Fortunately nobody got hurt, and after that they moved back a few rows in the cornfield — so there's a nice healthy corn buffer now.
But that year it was truly a full-impact fireworks display for the inner pyro in all of us. It's hard to capture the full drama of it: Like falling stars all around us. We brought pieces of the fireworks home reverentially as keepsakes, the way you'd collect fragments of a meteor. Talk about interactive!