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New Year's Eve Fireworks Light Up the Camden Waterfront!

Colorful way to observe holiday

BY JULIE SHANNON• COURIER-POST STAFF • JANUARY 3, 2011

CAMDEN — It was a picture-perfect night as fireworks lit up the sky in front of hundreds of spectators along the Camden Waterfront Friday.

For Monique McHugh of Cherry Hill, it was a great way to spend the night with her husband, Brendan, and her daughters, Emily, 9, and Megan, 6.

"We were out sledding today and doing other fun things with the kids and their cousins, and my husband and I will be going to First Night Haddonfield after this," she said. "The fireworks are a beautiful way to start the night."

For Ken Sweeten, an officer for the Camden County Department of Corrections, it was not only a family affair, but an experience for their dog, Nika, who is also his K-9 partner. Sweeten said he brings Nika, a German shepherd, out to events where the noise level is extremely high so she can get used to loud environments on the job.

"I'm training her for the noise," the Audubon resident explained. "I move her through the crowd so she gets used to being around a lot of people, too. She did great tonight."

Sweeten's daughters, Morgan, 9, and Gretchen, 7, were glad to have their dog with them and loved the fireworks show.

"I like the pretty colors," they both said in unison.

Sweeten and his wife, Sharon, said they are glad they are able to celebrate the New Year as a family and can be home well before midnight.

It was worth the wait for out-of-towner Justin Waples. The Lynchburg, Va., resident and his girlfriend, Melody Byers, from Lake George, New York, visit Byers' brother and other family members in Cherry Hill every year between Christmas and New Year, and made it a point to see the fireworks this year. Waples and Byers' brother were stuck with a flat tire and missed the show last year.

"I made sure I wasn't going to miss it this year," he laughed.

The couple walked along the waterfront after the fireworks were over, admiring the view of the Philadelphia skyline.

"I love the lights on the (Ben Franklin) Bridge," noted Byers.

"And I love the reflection in the water from the lights," said Waples.

This was only the beginning of their night, as they have to make a six-hour drive back to Lake George.

"We're thinking of leaving to drive through New York City just in time to see the ball drop," said Byers with a smile.

Reach Julie Shannon at (856) 486-2920 or jshannon@gannett.com

Link to this article on the Courier-Post website by clicking here.

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