group of adults and kids
DeSoto's 4th of July celebration Photo credit City of DeSoto

More than 13,000 residents from the Best Southwest Cities of DeSoto and Lancaster gathered together on an extremely hot July the 4th at DeSoto’s Grimes Park for a joint Independence Day celebration that both cities have been hosting on a rotating basis for more than a decade. It has become a hallowed yet fun tradition that both cities eagerly embrace.

“The bond between our cities and our residents is real and we always look forward to coming together on the Fourth of July with our dear friends from Lancaster to celebrate this wonderful holiday and our deep friendship,” said Rachel L. Proctor, Mayor of the City of DeSoto.

Her counterpart in the City of Lancaster, Mayor Clyde C. Hairston, echoed Mayor Proctor’s observation, “We love to playfully tease each other about whose city has more excitement, but when the Fourth of July rolls around, all that friendly rivalry melts away. We gather together like one big, joyful family, basking in the warmth of each other’s company.
The laughter, shared stories, and the feeling of unity remind us how wonderful it is to come together and celebrate as one. Finding true unity in this Day of Independence.”

group of people outside

Part of the reason for this shared admiration is that both cities really know how to throw a party and do it well together. This year’s musical entertainment headlined funk and soul legends the Bar-Kays who hit the charts together dozens of times going back to the late 1960’s. They were inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2015, and featured former lead singer Larry Dodson during their DeSoto performance. The music lineup also featured rousing performances by violin virtuoso Dominique Hammons, the Natural Change Band, and the GoGo Band. Wrapping up the evening’s festivities was a spectacular fireworks presentation worthy of two great “All-America Cities.”

DeSoto Police officers
Photo credit City of DeSoto

Celebrating his first joint DeSoto-Lancaster Independence Day event this year was Majed Al-Ghafry, DeSoto’s new City Manager who officially started his new position on Monday. Al-Ghafry visited with employees from both cities who were working together to make the event a success, and he was pleased with the strong comradery that he witnessed, “I am excited to become a part of this great tradition, and I look forward to working closely with Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones and her team to continue to build on the great working relationship and spirit of cooperation that our two cities share.”

The City of Lancaster will host the next July Fourth celebration in 2025 and then again in 2027 at Lancaster’s Community Park. After Thursday’s event in DeSoto’s Grimes Park, DeSoto will next play host to the event in 2026 and 2028.

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