Boaters flock to area lakes for July 4 weekend

Pat Dalton sat in a camp chair with a portable awning Saturday afternoon, her feet propped up on another chair, a newspaper in her lap. The Fourth of July weekend was here, and Dalton had come to Clinton State Park with her family to relax.

As her 12-year-old grandson, Sean Kiddee, sat in a small wading pool, Dalton cooled off in the shade of the family’s camper.

“We tried going down to Milford (State Park) to camp, but it was already packed because they are going to have fireworks there,” said Dalton, who lives near Clinton Lake. “So we decided we’d just come here instead. It’s close, and it’s less busy.”

Campers from near and far filed into local parks and lakes Saturday to begin celebrating the Independence Day holiday.

At Lake Perry, marina owner Bob Best reported that the campsites hadn’t filled up quite as quickly as in years past, but that might be because a number of other activities are available in the area this weekend.

“I think a lot of people are at the races (at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.), and will head out after,” Best said. “And this is a real three-day weekend, so I think people may be doing other things on the first day.”

While both Perry and Clinton had some camping room still available on Saturday afternoon, the clear skies and warm temperatures attracted throngs of water enthusiasts to the lakes.

“I was talking to the guys at Wildlife and Parks and they said there were more boats on the lake than they’d ever seen,” Best said of the Perry boat traffic.

At Clinton Lake, cars and trucks with empty trailers filled nearly every open spot in the parking lots near the boat ramps.

The holiday weekend also means increased traffic for local grocery and liquor stores. Patrick Miller, a supervisor at Alvin’s Wine & Spirits, 4000 W. Sixth St., said his store had been consistently busy on Saturday.

“We’re selling a lot of domestic beer – I guess because it’s the Fourth of July,” Miller said.

Lawrence events

Several municipalities will host large fireworks displays on Monday.

¢ The Lawrence display will start about 9:45 p.m. Organizers said the best site to view the display would be Burcham Park, 200 Ind., though the Kansas River Bridge and levee would provide good views as well.

Festivities at Burcham Park will begin at 6 p.m., including live music from The Prairie Acre Band and the Ready Brothers Band.

The City of Lawrence has a ban on residents firing almost all fireworks within the city limits. Snappers, snakes, sparklers, party poppers, toy caps and toy smoke devices are exceptions to the ban.

Area events

¢ Baldwin’s display starts about 9 p.m. and will last from an hour to an hour and a half.

The event will also feature games at the Baldwin High School sports complex, including tug-of-war and a sack race. The games begin at 6 p.m.

¢ In Eudora, the fireworks display will begin at dusk. Viewers should gather in the parking lot of Eudora Middle School, where entertainment will begin at 7 p.m. The Eudora event will feature a disc jockey, and the fireworks display should last for about an hour.