Archive for Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Friday Fourth of July expected to be a blast

Vendors upbeat; lake ready

Fireworks usually go off with a bang for Fourth of July celebrations - and local vendors are getting ready to sell their goods.

July 1, 2008

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Ryan Hutton helps set up a fireworks stand Monday south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59. Many area fireworks vendors have high expectations for Independence Day sales. This year's holiday falls on a Friday, and rain is not in the current forecast.

Ryan Hutton helps set up a fireworks stand Monday south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59. Many area fireworks vendors have high expectations for Independence Day sales. This year's holiday falls on a Friday, and rain is not in the current forecast.

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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.

Comments

Mike Blur 6 years, 10 months ago

Am I the only one who sees the irony in a patriotic holiday being observed using fireworks manufactured in Communist China? Many other 4th of July decorations are also manufactured in China. The nadir for me was when I saw a US Flag with a "Made in China" sticker on it.

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 10 months ago

looked everywhere i can of on the web and no way to go out there to find out so just curious.

ECM 6 years, 10 months ago

"Everyone who used to shoot fireworks at their homes now is forced to move to somewhere out in the country for the same enjoyment. When they could do this at their homes they would clean up the mess because they had to live there. "Wow I wish that were true. First the number of individuals in our neighborhood and the amount of fireworks they shoot off is unchanged. Ban or no ban. Second they never clean up after themselves as most of their trash lands in others yards. So by location not their problem.

simplyamazed 6 years, 10 months ago

What is truely bad about the ban on fireworks in the city limits is that those of us who live in the country now suffer with the city's trash. Everyone who used to shoot fireworks at their homes now is forced to move to somewhere out in the country for the same enjoyment. When they could do this at their homes they would clean up the mess because they had to live there. Since the ban in the city and all the city people come to our area for fun, they seem to leave the mess for us to clean up and the county/township workers to deal with the litter. Please people! have a little compassion and clean up your own mess this year! Last year around the Clinton Lake area was a total mess with left over spent firework debris on every back road within a five mile radius of the lake and town. It will be interesting to see what we will have to deal with since they are moving the "City" display to the lake area! Yes, the area where they are going to stage the display is considered in the city limits but it will be safe to say that they will not send city workers to clean up the surrounding area mess as they did on the party that occurred in the NCAA championship weekend. If people are shooting off fireworks for the celebration of the independance and freedoms of our country, then please have the same respect for our country and clean up your own mess! Sigh..............Yes I am complaining but people must be and act responsible for what they do and 9 times out 0f 10 they do not. This is what causes some of us to always complain. The actions of others is sometimes like my log in name..simply amazing!

Poon 6 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

bangaranggerg 6 years, 10 months ago

The headline was 4th of July expected to be a blast not "4th of July article expected to incite stupid complaints"

JSDAD 6 years, 10 months ago

mommaeffortx2 (Anonymous) says: is perry lakes on the 4th or what does anyone know? it is on saturday the 5th 9:00ish

dandelion 6 years, 10 months ago

Since the fireworks display has been moved to a 2000 car parking lot now there will be now fireworks display in Lawrence at all. The 4th used to be a fun day, but it's becoming a real bore thank to the city, the Jaycees, and Emprise Bank.

Jaylee 6 years, 10 months ago

the 4th is my birthday!!! WOO!! im from illinois and there are NO fireworks. you can only find black snakes and poppers and sparklers. i sh*t thee not.yall can bitch all you want about fireworks ban but kansas is heaven on the 4th for me!

OzChicklet 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, I guess the other option for flag buying would be to purchase a US flag made in the USA by an illegal alien...how else would the retail price be competative?

nobody1793 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't have a problem with responsible, sober people having fireworks, but about two thirds of this town are either drunks or idiots. Driving in town last year, I had a bottle rocket miss coming through my drivers side window by inches. WTF

OzChicklet 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't mind the ban. I don't want some stupid idiot to burn my house down with a bottle rocket. Too bad there won't be shuttle buses out there and back....

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 10 months ago

is perry lakes on the 4th or what does anyone know?

OzChicklet 6 years, 10 months ago

screedposter (Anonymous) says: "I don't want some stupid idiot to burn my house down with a bottle rocket.""Bottle rockets are still banned, and were banned before the city ban."I think you get my point, regardless if it is a bottle rocket or one of the newly banned fireworks...

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