Alex Matthews was celebrating a little bit more than just the nation’s birthday.
“It’s my birthday, so I’m with my brother and my good friend Jackie and we’re here just trying to have a good time,” Matthews told CW 33 News.
The 22-year-old from Stockton, California had never been to the picnic.”It’s very relaxed, it’s a good time.
Everyone is country and not a lot of California, it’s very country, but I like it. I enjoy it a lot,” said Matthews.
This year’s Willie Nelson’s Picnic was anything but the first for Cole Bonnett.”I did security after we helped build the stage for his picnic there in Dripping Springs, [Texas],” said Bonnett.
Thirty nine years later, he had seen a lot of changes in the event.”It was old hippies, cosmic cowboys and people who didn’t know,”
Bonnett said as he laughed. “Now it is just young people and old people together that have known Willie and lived Willie.”
While the fans might have changed, the spirit of the event remained the same, especially for Nelson.
“You probably know that he is a little bit patriotic and he’s an American icon and its America’s birthday, so doing it and doing it on the 4th of July, he’ll never waiver from that,” said Pam Minick with Willie Nelson’s Picnic.
It was honoring America’s independence the only way Texans knew how.”
To be a part of the United States and a part of the state of Texas is a great honor indeed,” said Heidi Kapp.
“The great freedom. Independence Day,” said Randy Bene.
“I can’t imagine anybody doing this and having the passion to do it for 39 years other than Willie,” said Minick.
[CW 33 News](http://www.the33tv.com/about/station/newsteam/kdaf-thousands-join-willie-nelson-for-4th-of-july-picnic-20120704,0,1121066.story)