Heed the rules:
Only novelty items such as party poppers, snappers, sparklers, toy caps, and toy smoke devices are permitted in Lawrence city limits. In unincorporated areas of Douglas County, fireworks can be ignited only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 7 a.m. to midnight Friday.
The Fourth of July is coming, and area parks and merchants are preparing for a big bang.
"I'm sure there will be thousands of people here as usual," said Kyle Broockerd, park ranger at Perry Lake. "I'd say the Fourth of July is our busiest weekend of the year."
And there's every reason to expect Clinton Lake to be a major attraction this weekend.
On Friday, Lawrence's fireworks display will take place at the lake - at Sesquicentennial Point, which is at the northern end of the Clinton Dam north of the spillway. Organizers with the Jaycees said safety concerns prompted the move to Clinton Lake. Emprise Bank is the main sponsor for the $14,000 display, which will begin lighting up the sky at 10 p.m. Friday and is expected to last 30 to 45 minutes.
Organizers urge people to carpool to the lake. Parking will be allowed only in specified areas and not on Clinton Dam.
While high gasoline prices and a tight economy are casting a shadow on this year's Fourth of July celebrations, many area fireworks vendors still have high expectations. This year's show falls on a Friday, a convenient date for a long weekend of fun. And the current forecast does not call for rain.
"I'm hopeful it will be better than last year," said John Hutton, of Velocity Fireworks, which has a stand on U.S. Highway 59 south of Kansas Highway 10.
Some vendors say prices for fireworks may be a bit higher this year. An explosion in the Chinese city of Sanshui destroyed 20 warehouses of fireworks that cut supply and drove up costs here. Some of those costs will be passed on to consumers. Hutton said he spent 15 percent more than last year for the same volume, and shoppers will see a similar percentage increase this year.
"That's probably what they're looking at," he said. "I talked to a couple of other stand owners and they're saying the same thing."
Eric Garrett of Uncle Sam's Fireworks & Innovations of Eudora said he's reduced the markup on fireworks and hopes to benefit by selling in greater bulk. He said sales are already up at some stands in the northeastern Kansas area and he's hoping better weather than last year coupled with the holiday falling on a Friday will be an improvement over last year.
"Sales were down last year," he said, "but this year they're looking like they're up."
Some vendors said that while the prices may have changed, they've managed to get full orders in.
"You can get about anything you want, as long as it's legal in the state of Kansas," Hutton said.
But there are rules to follow.
Only novelty items such as party poppers, snappers, sparklers, toy caps, and toy smoke devices are permitted within Lawrence city limits. In unincorporated areas of Douglas County, fireworks can be ignited only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. July 2 and July 3 and from 7 a.m. to midnight July 4.
In McLouth, the city's annual fireworks show will begin at dark Friday at the McLouth Sports Complex. People can park and view the display on Bulldog Lane, and organizers encourage families to bring lawn chairs and blankets.
At Perry Lake, the $12,500 fireworks show begins about 10 p.m. The grounds will open for parking about 5 p.m.
Shannon Showalter, president of the Perry Lake Association, said he expects a crowd of up to 15,000 people and the crowd of boats on the water is almost as impressive as the fireworks display.
"I compare it to seeing a floating city at night," he said.
And officials also are hoping revelers will be safe this season. Broockerd warned motorists not to drink and drive, to wear life jackets on the water, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks.
"People think if they go to the lake, the rules change, but really the campground is the worst place you can be drinking and driving because the little kids are running everywhere," he said.