Doyl Merz will have better-than-front-row seats at the annual Lawrence Jaycees Fourth of July Extravaganza on Thursday.
Merz is part of the fireworks display's pit crew, responsible for lighting the pyrotechnics that will send glittery plumes of fiery color across the night sky above the Kansas River. He's been at it for 32 years.
"It's a nice enjoyable thing to do for the public," he said.
The display will begin after dark Thursday, ending an evening of activities and entertainment at Burcham Park, Second and Indiana streets. The display typically draws more than 5,000 people to the park, the Kansas River Bridge and the levee, Merz said.
This year's grand finale will have about 260 shots going off simultaneously, Merz said.
Rick Bellinger, who's also in the Jaycees pit crew, estimated the organization had spent about $12,000 on the show, which should last about 40 minutes.
Down the road in Perry, organizers of a $30,000 fireworks display at Perry Lake tout theirs as the biggest show in Kansas. The snaps, crackles and booms will begin after dusk off the dam on the east side of the lake.
Bryan Best, store manager at Lake Perry Yacht and Marina, said 30,000 to 40,000 people usually attended the daylong celebration, which includes a boat parade, sky divers and musical entertainment. Parking is $5 after 4 p.m.
Here's a look at other fireworks displays in the area:
The Eudora show will begin after dark in the Eudora High School parking lot. Festivities, including a community band concert, obstacle course, DJ and activities for children, will start around 6:30 p.m.
In Baldwin, fireworks will begin after dark at the Baldwin High School football fields. Games and entertainment begin at 5 p.m.
Fireworks will begin after dark at Prairie Park in McLouth.
The DeSoto show will be at the Lexington Trails Middle School football field. Because of construction at the middle school, spectators are asked to park across the street at the high school.
Ottawa fireworks will be after dark at Forest Park.
Olathe's Fourth of July event will include children's activities, sports figures, music, a bike parade and fireworks after dark at the Great Mall of the Great Plains.
An all-day celebration at Lake Shawnee in Topeka will include a craft show, water ski show, baseball game, concert and fireworks at dusk.