PROSSER -- While some Mid-Columbians gear up to watch fireworks this holiday weekend, tea partiers are planning a few sparks of their own at a barbecue and rally in Prosser at noon today.
The two-hour event in Albrecht's parking lot is to open with the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem and feature patriotic music and singing, free food and some fiery talk as impassioned citizens and office-seekers take an open mic to speak out about issues of the day.
"We have an open mic because people like to go up and just share how they're feeling," said Sherry Harvey, an event organizer and member of the Rattlesnake Ridge Liberty Brigade.
"Others like to share their experiences -- 'I've lost a job' or 'I got a job,' " she said. "Things that reflect the effect on the average American of things going on in Washington (D.C.) and Olympia."
U.S. Senate candidate Clint Didier, Fourth District congressional candidate Mary Ruth Edwards, state Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, Benton County Commissioner Max Benitz and candidate for Benton County Assessor Bill Spencer will have five minutes each to address the crowd.
They also will be asked questions about their platforms and positions, Harvey said.
Attendees can check out a 16-foot board showing the national debt increasing, browse information tables about the candidates and the tea party movement, pick up free literature, including a voter's guide produced by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, and register to vote in the Aug. 17 primary.
"Our goal is to get people out to vote," Harvey said. "If we can get Eastern Washington really motivated in voting, we can offset some of the more liberal voting that happens on the west side."
To celebrate the spirit of the holiday, the group will display replicas of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution under glass.
"We put the Constitution out at the Prosser Farmers Market and people said, 'That's what the Constitution looks like?' " she said. "They hadn't seen it before. I was interested in how many folks didn't recognize it. ... Another thing we're hoping to achieve as constitutional conservatives -- which is what most tea party folks are -- is to get back to where the Constitution really drives the laws in the land."
The event is from noon to 2 p.m. at 321 Wine Country Road, Prosser.