The skies above Lawrence and other area towns will be crackling with booms, bursts and other audible signs of Independence Day.
Several licensed fireworks displays are scheduled for the public Friday night, giving area residents a chance to sit back and watch someone else light the wicks and fill the air with sparks and smoke.
In Lawrence, the Jaycees are teaming with the city to conduct a fireworks extravaganza from the north side of the Kansas River.
"We'll give people something to do," said Gary Saathoff, acting Jaycees president in Lawrence. "It's going to be the best fireworks show you can see for $6,000."
Thousands of people are expected to gather in Burcham Park, on the south side of the river just northwest of downtown, to watch the show set to begin between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday. There were some early concerns the Jaycees wouldn't stage the annual show this year because of a funding shortage, but the city of Lawrence contributed $4,000 to help the Jaycees put on the fireworks display.
A disc jockey will start playing music at the park at 7 p.m., Saathoff said. But, unlike in past years, the extravaganza will not include other entertainment or food, other than an ice cream vendor on site.
"We encourage people to bring their own," Saathoff said.
Free bus transportation will be provided to and from downtown parking lots, sponsored by the Journal-World. Buses will start running at 6 p.m. Friday, passing city lots on Vermont and New Hampshire streets between Sixth and 11th streets on the way to the park's entrance off Indiana Street.
By 10 p.m., the shuttle service will be suspended so six buses can line up on Indiana Street to begin taking people back to the downtown lots.
Earlier Friday, the Lawrence Sesquicentennial's Commission's Independence Day parade will feature bands and floats. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and is set to march down Massachusetts Street from Seventh Street to South Park.
There won't be fireworks this year at Perry Lake. Traditionally one of the area's biggest displays -- last year it drew an estimated 100,000 people -- was canceled because of financial concerns at Lake Perry Yacht & Marina, which has paid the bill for the event in the past. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also had security concerns about the event.
Among other events in the area:
- A neighborhood parade for children will start at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Seventh and Ohio streets, ending at Watson Park. For more information, contact Laurie McLane-Higginson at 841-2178, and Jennifer Glenn, 841-5189.
- Baldwin: "Community Independence Day Celebration," at the ballfields at Baldwin High School, 415 Eisenhower St. A hourlong fireworks display starts at 9 p.m., after a celebration that starts at 5 p.m. and features free entertainment, including a water slide, face painting and live music by Music Row. Sponsored by Citizens for Baldwin City, a 30-member civic organization previously known as the Jaycees.
- Eudora: "Eudora July 4th Fireworks Show," parking lot at Eudora High School, a mile south of Kansas Highway 10 on Douglas County Road 1061. Gates will be open throughout the afternoon, with deejay Rex Burkhardt playing music beginning at 7 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by live patriotic music from the Eudora Community Band, then a 45-minute fireworks display beginning at dusk. Sponsored by Eudora Parks and Recreation.
- McLouth: Fireworks display, set to begin at dusk at McLouth Sports Complex. Fireworks will be shot from the hill behind the baseball fields, with observers advised to bring lawn chairs and blankets to watch the display from Bulldog Lane adjacent to the football field. Sponsored by McLouth Recreation Commission, city of McLouth, McLouth Kiwanis Club and McLouth Fire Department.
- Leavenworth: Fireworks display to begin at dusk at Fort Leavenworth's Merritt Lake. Concessions open and children's games begin at 4 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., live music will be provided by Missouri Southern followed by the Bryan Austin Band from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Topeka at Lake Shawnee: Spirit of Kansas fireworks display at 10 p.m. in area of Tinman Circle. Family events, arts and crafts displays, other entertainment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.
- Overland Park: Fireworks at about 9:30 p.m. in Corporate Woods Founders' Park, 9400 Indian Creek Parkway. Bands begin playing at 4 p.m. A World War II B-24 bomber will fly over sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.