SLIDESHOW | Hot Fourth of July fun in the Carnation sun

The pavement in downtown Carnation was hot, but the tricolored West Coast Country Heat Dancers stepped it like the sun above and blacktop below didn't matter.

"Woo!" exclaimed dancer Christina Lyon when their set was over. "We're called Country Heat, but let me tell you, the heat kills us."

"We've performed in hotter," said fellow performer Ted Grimes, more of a die-hard. "I love to dance. It's a lot of fun to perform."

The summer sun made for a bright afternoon not just for the Country Heat, but for the crowds of spectators and the participants in the Carnation Fourth of July community party. The morning started with the 5K Run for the Pies, a kiddie and grand parade, then moved into afternoon events including the Hot Rods and Harleys show and an amateur basketball tournament. The day caps with a big fireworks show when dusk falls, launched from Tolt-MacDonald Park.

Tom Knebel lounged in a shady spot as folks lined up to take shots of his cherry-red Model T hot rod, lovingly customized over the last three decades.

This is his first hot rod; Knebel followed in the footsteps of his father to create the ride, which sports custom-car cartoon character stickers and a "BITE ME" license plate.

"Every time I get it renewed, the women at the licensing department get a pretty big kick out of it," he said.

What's it like driving the car? "When it's like this, it's the best time in the world," Knebel said.

"I like to go places, up in the woods, go hunting," said Tim Eddy of Fall City, who brought his road-dusted 1990 Toyota pick-up for entry among the big-tired, lifted trucks. "It is an involvement of time, money and a lot of work," he said. But it's worth it for the ride. "Nothing's better."

A couple blocks away, more than 100 players hooped it up at the Just Moo It! three-on-three basketball competition. Teams of all ages, some co-ed, young and old competed on asphalt courts.

"It's fun coming out and playing with all our friends, kicking back and seeing everyone from school," said Paul Wilen, who, with friend Shilo Waltz, was part of the Grizz Crew team.

To Waltz, a high school graduate headed for the U.S. Army, the day was about a few important things: "Fourth of July, America, basketball."

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