“I love this country and I am going to live here until I die,” Mary, 83, said.
The mother and son, whose family comes from the Guadalajara area in Mexico, have made the Fourth of July events at the Marina a family tradition from the beginning.
“Just for a little while I get to sit and eat breakfast and watch the people go by,” Dominguez said.
From the tent where the Dominguezs sat, they could see the fleet of boats that competed in the Model Dairy Milk Carton Regatta. The regatta attracted the most participation it has ever seen with 22 boats participating in the 9 a.m. event. The vessels were required to rely entirely on milk cartons to keep them afloat. However, above the surface of the water, creativity ran wild.
Race finalists included boats from The Air National Guard, The Boys and Girls Club and Model Dairy. Terrible's Rail City Casino won best spirit; Julia Ratti, who is running for City Council Ward 1, won best design; and the SS Idelwild House Boat won best theme.
The boat that won first place in the regatta race was designed mainly for speed and not for show, according to engineers from Ebara International Corp., a cryogenic pump-producing business located off of Vista Boulevard in Sparks.
The win marked the second victory for the team of Ebara engineers.
“When we won last year we said, make room on the wall next to that plaque, because we will win next year,” hull-designer Tom Mathews said. “The funnest part about all this was finishing it.”
Plaques were presented to each winner on the event stage and Sarah Alison-Youel accepted the plaque for the business.
“We are engineers and this is what we do,” Alison-Youel said.
Moments later, 47 singers and dancers took their turns on the stage to compete for the title of Sparks Idol. The annual competition is organized by the Sparks Chamber of Commerce and began in 2003.
“We were sitting around the office one day and thinking we needed something more,” Chamber Director Len Stevens said. At the time, "American Idol" was gaining in popularity and the idea occurred to Stevens to start a Sparks version of the competition.
Since its beginnings the competition has grown in popularity, attracting 107 applicants this year. According to Stevens, previous years have attracted talent from other states, as anyone is welcome to audition. Contestants were pre-screened and 47 were able to perform on the Marina stage Friday.
Tamoie Robinson, 15, won in the junior category for 15 years old and younger, with her rendition of "Moondance" by Van Morrison. Haley Bond, 19, won in the young adult category for contestants age 16 to 19, singing "Don’t Rain on My Parade." Bond left the event with additional recognition as the judges dubbed her the Outstanding Entertainer of the Day. The adult singing competition was tied with Erika Malone and Cheryl Sather both receiving the title of Sparks Idol. Daniel Kenneth was declared the best solo dancer at the event and Hip Hop Rocey took home the title for best group dance. Each winner took home $350 along with the title of Sparks Idol.
“The thing that sticks out to me (about the event) is that it just keeps getting bigger,” Stevens said.