Edgardo Petitpas’ grin spread across his face Wednesday as he dashed through raindrops and roars from the crowd at Fort Hood Stadium.
Petitpas was swift as he rolled his cart down the track in the stadium against four others in a grocery bagging competition sponsored by H-E-B.
Participants rushed their carts a few yards down the track to a row of groceries, where they then bagged them, turned around and raced back to the starting line.
Petitpas was one of a few who would walk away with store credit to H-E-B, but all of them gave a whole new meaning to go-carting.
The race was one of several events at Fort Hood’s Independence Day Celebration from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday at Fort Hood Stadium, which a few hundred attended. The event, which featured live music, food and beverage vendors, ended with a fireworks display from 9:30 to 10 p.m.
While intermittent rain dusted the festivities, it wasn’t enough to extinguish the patriotism of more than 100 who came out.
Petitpas, a retired veteran, got out of the Army in September. He started his service in 2013.
“I’m just here with the family — Fourth of July,” Petitpas said. “Getting some quality time with the family and keep the spirits.”
Many residents with military ties attended the celebration in spite of the light rain. Among the vendors was BJ Callaway, the owner/manager of Sporty-B in Copperas Cove, who was selling screen prints, rhinestone designs and customized items.
Callaway said she is retired from the military and had attended the annual celebration several years before. While the crowd was lighter compared to years past, she still said the rain didn’t dampen the spirit of those who made it out.
“Everything’s been great. Usually it’s packed, but it’s still a lot of fun,” Callaway said.
Sunny Alds, whose son is deployed with the Army, said it was her first time at a Fort Hood celebration.
In the spirit of camaraderie that comes with Independence Day, she joined her daughter-in-law Wednesday so neither would be alone.
“I came to spend the time with my daughter-in-law since my son is deployed,” Alds said. “I think it’s wonderful.”