Archive for Saturday, July 5, 2008

New venue, same old fun

A few minutes of the Fourth of July firework celebration at Sesquicentennial Point near Clinton Lake.

July 5, 2008


A group of Kansas University graduate students - from the Netherlands, Costa Rica and Pakistan - watch the Independence Day fireworks show Friday at Sesquicentennial Point. The fireworks display by the Lawrence Jaycees was moved this year from the Kansas River to Clinton Lake.

A group of Kansas University graduate students - from the Netherlands, Costa Rica and Pakistan - watch the Independence Day fireworks show Friday at Sesquicentennial Point. The fireworks display by the Lawrence Jaycees was moved this year from the Kansas River to Clinton Lake.

On the street

What do you like best about Fourth of July this year?

The best thing for me is I am off work. I work a rotating shift and the last few times I have had to work.

More responses

For Wooseung Hong, it didn't much matter if this year's fireworks display was at Burcham Park or Clinton Lake.

Last year after watching the show on television, he made a promise to his wife and two children that next Fourth of July they would partake in this very American tradition.

So from a grassy field just below Clinton Lake's Sesquicentennial Point, the KU student from South Korea sat on a blanket surrounded by 20 others from his home country and watched as fireworks danced in the sky and the crowd around him oohed and aahed.

There were the sparklers, the streamers, the sky-high star poppers, and in the end there was the ear-splitting grand finale.

"It's very surprising. The color, the sound, the atmosphere of this place - it is very good," Hong said.

Yes the location had changed, but the results were the same.

This year, the Lawrence Jaycees, who organize the annual display, moved the show from Burcham Park to Clinton Lake.

Jaycees president and event chairman Gary Saathoff said that with the exception of some parking problems when cars backed up as drivers waited for the gates to open at 8 p.m., the event went smoothly.

He estimated about 1,200 cars and between 3,500 to 4,000 people were in the park.

"That's pretty close to what we had (at Burcham Park)," Saathoff said. "And there is a whole lot more room than we had in the park. People are more spread out and it is much safer."

On the grassy fields, crowds were watching the display from lawn chairs, blankets and in the bed of pickups. Cars also lined the road at the top of the dam, and dozens of boats sat on the water ready for the show to begin.

Fireworks set to fly at Sesquicentennial Point

Friday night, Lawrence is hosting the first fireworks celebration at Sesquicentennial Point near Clinton Lake.


bigdave 9 years, 11 months ago

This is the first year I have mist the fireworks in Lawrence :( I was not going to go in to that mad house to watch them. The 4th just is not the same anymore here in Lawrence with out the show over the downtown and the river. I will be out at Perry tonight to watch there show never miss that, Its always bigger then the show in Lawrence but it sucks trying to get out of there after the show.

Piggles 9 years, 11 months ago

We didn't feel like messing with trying to get parking out at Clinton since we felt it was not thoroughly thought through, so we went to Eudora to watch theirs. It was real nice- Thank YOU Eudora! We would of like to go to Perry but it takes like almost an hour just to get out onto the highway then another hour to get home. I think if Lawrence planned it better (like start planning last year perhaps?) and do something kind of like Perry with entertainment and little food stands and whatnot who knows maybe we might of gone. Close the dam and people sit on the dam to watch the fireworks! That's what Perry Lake does! I heard about Lake Shawnee too but haven't been to that one. C'mon Lawrence- there's lots of big corporations here in town, get some donations/sponsors and make it bigger!!! If you build it, people will come!

poop2scoop 9 years, 11 months ago

My neighbor told me about the fireworks ban inside the city limits, so I did not buy any fireworks. However, I saw and heard numerous neighborhood displays all over town during the day on Friday and well into the night. Is the ban for real or is my neighbor misinformed?

Sharon Roullins 9 years, 11 months ago

I was told last year that you couldn't shoot fireworks within city limits so I didn't buy any. But this year, I heard mored within the city limits than I did last year. What gives? I think my neighbors didn't mind bending the rules and they probably would have cried "FOUL" had someone complained and called the police.My family and I did go out to Clinton Lake last night and I must say that it was organized chaos because we arrived around 8:30. It was only after the event that traffic was ridiculous. People were walking directly in the middle of the street. One guy driving a very large truck tried to "bogart" his way in front of us then his passenger got rude with us. The police weren't too clear on how to direct traffic but we made it home in one piece................thankfully.

myopinion 9 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many missed out on this fun because of the move to Clinton Lake and especially the children and the older folks who used to watch from the levee in lawn chairs and couldn't make it out to the lake for transportation reasons. We banned fireworks within the city limits andthen moved the only good option out to the lake. Very patriotic!!!

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 11 months ago

I am very angry and bitter that they moved it to Clinton Lake. As a consequence my grandchildren didn't get to go. We tried but the traffic was horrible! We had to take TWO vehicles to get all of the people out there (real green there Lawrence) and my husbands truck started to overheat in the traffic jam on Clinton Parkway. We ended up turning around and going to Broken Arrow park and watching folks set off their personal fireworks.They say that it was no different. I call BS!

zettapixel 9 years, 11 months ago

I want to know more about the coordination with the Lawrence Police Department regarding traffic in and around the K-10 / Lake Pointe Drive / Candy Lane area. It took me 5 minutes to get from the "big" round about at K-10 and Lake Pointe Drive to my home on Candy Lane. That's a drive that usually takes no more than 30 seconds. Cars were parked on both sides of Lake Pointe Drive and traffic was trying to squeeze through the small space left in the middle. There were even cars parked in the right lanes going both directions on K-10. To top it off, there were people parking in driveways and garbage left all over the place! I loved the fireworks when they were out by the river and seemed to be better planned and thought out. What I saw tonight was just an accident waiting to happen with those cars parked all over the highway and street!

Sean Livingstone 9 years, 11 months ago

If you love your country, whether it's at Clinton Lake, or at even De Soto, you don't complain about the location. JFK: "Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".

Mike Blur 9 years, 11 months ago

OMG zettapixel! It took you five whole minutes to drive home? The horror!!!!

kugrad 9 years, 11 months ago

The move is a mistake. The fireworks are a North Lawrence tradition and moving them is a slap in the face to that community. FYI, you can't drive to Clinton from NL in 5 mins. Perhaps they should do two displays, one at the lake, one in NL and let people attend the one that they prefer. There was no "horrible traffic" to fight getting to the fireworks in NL. There is plenty of parking distributed around the area. But, most importantly, it was a TRADITION in North Lawrence. SO many people had friends and relatives over and then WALKED to the levee to watch the fireworks. On the other side of the river, the same thing was happening in the Pinckney neighborhood. It was a community event embraced by North Lawrencians.It was handled poorly by those in charge. You don't just announce such a thing with no public input via a LJW article.

Alison Roberts 9 years, 11 months ago

I really dont know what all the complaining is about. If you dont want to cram into Clinton Park you could have done what many people did...go to the little park off of K-10 (across from Aberdeen South) or park along 27th street. I saw tons of people doing that from my balcony and they were JUST FINE. No, you couldnt see the ground fireworks, but the ones in the air are better anyway. I got to see the show from my balcony, best seat in my opinion. Stop complaining... there were just as many traffic problems when they were downtown...and its harldy a slap in the face. Perhaps the planning wasnt as detailed as it should have been, but the spokesman from the Jaycees said MANY times that this was going to be a learning experience--Im sure next year will be a lot better. From what I saw, the show was great :) Also, I could see about 3 other "shows" put on by was great! And yeah... even though there is a "ban" on fireworks within city limits, the police really cant be EVERYWHERE that they are being set off. My neighbors were not only setting off huge amounts, but they were doing it in the grass of all places... good thing the ground was wet.

dandelion 9 years, 11 months ago

You didn't ever have to fight the traffic down by the levee. You could park in a parking lot downtown and taken the shuttle. The only people who should have parked near Burcham were the elderly people. I also wouldn't have wanted to watch fireworks surrounded by cars, so I didn't go.I wish we could find a sponsor to do fireworks at the river for people who live in Lawrence, then the Jaycees could have their fireworks at Clinton lake for the West Lawrence people and their SUV's.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 11 months ago

talked to some people that where told to go to bloomington because no more parking and they said it was a disaster, so really was not worth it. Me we to lonestar had fun everyone swan ate bbq and had a great time.Tonight is perry night always have fun there.

kef104 9 years, 11 months ago

First, Happy birthday Uncle Sam and thanks to event organizers for a wonderful fireworks display. The weather was nice, the ground dry, and the booms, as my one year old called them, exciting. Having said that, I miss the tradition and feel of the abandoned location and will probably not repeat the experience of the new location. The traffic was a clustered mess. It is about an 8 minute drive from our house, off Wakarusa, to the park where the fireworks were shot. It took 35 minutes to drive there, which, while not great, was livable. It was the 1 hour 20 minute drive to get home that makes this location foolish if not downright stupid. Why so long? For starters, we had no choice about how to leave the site, including not being allowed to take the 23rd street route. No, we had to go south to the end of the dam. And then, we were not allowed to take the dam road (no pun intended) back either. No, we were forced to snake at a snails pace back to Iowa street and then we could start working our way in directions closer to home. I much prefer the downtown river location. Parking is plentiful, walking to parking is easy with lots of downtown sightseeing/food/drink to do. Also, it is much more sociable and far easier to see friends. Chairs are set next to each other, not lined between cars. The music and atmosphere of the river is simply far nicer. I would much rather stroll through the trees than idle through a long skinny parking lot they deemed a route out. If this event must be held at the lake, you might as well cancel it and donate the saved money to a worthy cause. I take that back, if it must be held at the lake, build more roads, make the current roads at least 4 lanes, pave the parking, plant more trees, and have exit plans so people do not have to circle the city to drive what should be a short distance home. And try to do it without raising taxes, please.

pomegranate 9 years, 11 months ago

Stayed home and watched the wonderful shows on TV with the great fireworks. Saw Jerry Lee Lewis-he is getting old and a bit slower now but still fantastic .

Mike Blur 9 years, 11 months ago

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del888 9 years, 11 months ago

I went out to Clinton about 8:15. No problems getting in. Had good seats in the grassy area where they parked the cars. The fireworks were great. Only complaint was that it was hard to get out. Must have been planned by a republican - we go in quick, blow everything up, no exit strategy.

unknownperson 9 years, 11 months ago

what dose a republican have anything to do with your stupid liberal driveing

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 11 months ago

kugrad says: "The move is a mistake. The fireworks are a North Lawrence tradition and moving them is a slap in the face to that community...."I recall the days when one could spread a blanket on the hillside beneath the Campanile on campus, the Carillon counting down the moments to the fireworks show to be launched from the Stadium-a perfect slope, gentle enough to accommodate an evening picnic, steep enough to afford comfortable viewing while lying flat on one's back, magnificent displays entirely filling the visual field.The move was a mistake.

inglec 9 years, 11 months ago

I am not sure why our city father's think they should be the ones to decide whether or not we as citzens should not show our patritism in being a free nation by shooting off fireworks, but they did. If more parents and the so called adults showed more responabilities in celebrating the 4th of July maybe we would still have the right to celebrate the 4th by shooting off fireworks. As a registered voter of Douglas County I believe it should of been put on the ballot and let the people of Lawrence decide whether or not fireworks should be shot off in within the city limits. As for the celebration at Clinton Lake it was a mess...traffic horrible. People driving like they had no common sense. Drivers doing U-turns in front of oncoming traffic and not watching out for those walking to the event. Planning, yes more planning and I know you learn from doing, but those planning should have thought this out better.

lori 9 years, 11 months ago

We will probably never go see the fireworks out at Clinton. I enjoyed them when they were in north Lawrence, and keeping them in the downtown area would have been lovely for us. Nice that the other side of Lawrence gets a chance to enjoy them, though. Maybe they can alternate, one year at Clinton, the next at Burcham?

JSDAD 9 years, 11 months ago

traffic home was a cluster. maybe everyone had to hurry home to potty.

trvlronda 9 years, 11 months ago

NO matter if the fireworks show is d'twn or at the lake, the show needs to be bigger. I could see from my vantage point, but if it's truly a community event, there should have been several good vantage points.I do not understand why the Lawrence show is so slow. Boom......15seconds....Boom....15 seconds...etc. I think the Jaycees need to have fundraisers throughout the year?? The show in little Salina Kansas is bigger and better than what I saw last night--and they have 1/4 the population. I love a good fireworks show and events that bring the community together. I don't know what kind of budget the Jaycees have, perhaps that would be a good article for the LJW?

Gr8ful 9 years, 11 months ago

I am surprised at how much complaining there is!!! Be grateful!!! We have the freedom to celebrate our INDEPENDENCE. What a gift it is! I think some of you haven't seen much of the world out there. Perhaps you are a bit spoiled???Thank you Jaycees for the show. You won't ever please everyone.

gypsyphillia 9 years, 11 months ago

"what dose a republican have anything to do with your stupid liberal driveing"Hmmmm.....A victim of No Child Left Behind? Enough said.The view of last night's fireworks from Bloomington Beach was lame to say the least. Lawrence Jaycees, please move the display back to Burcham Park next year.

Confrontation 9 years, 11 months ago

I went to the display, and I'm glad the rest of you stayed home and whined. It took about 25 minutes to get out of there, but it was worth it. The smart ones were those who just kept their cars parked and waited around for a bit. Other than the idiots (middle of second row of cars) who decided to bring their psychotic dog and let it bark after every firework, the display and location were perfect. I'd like to see a ban on dogs at next year's display, but I know the local mutt lovers would crap their pants. Overall, a decent show.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 11 months ago

Why so long? For starters, we had no choice about how to leave the site, including not being allowed to take the 23rd street route. No, we had to go southto the end of the dam. And then, we were not allowed to take the dam road (no pun intended) back either. No, we were forced to snake at a snails pace backto Iowa street and then we could start working our way in directions closer to home.---lack of choice...government knows best...sure sounds like liberals were in charge. ... of course this is lawrence! liberals are in charge!

Gr8ful 9 years, 11 months ago

Furthermore, I can't believe this has digressed into a discussion about "liberals" and "republicans". It's obvious that some of you have never been in a decision making position where you have found yourself in the middle of an unpopular decision. There is such thing as constructive criticism. You know, "The great thing about having the fireworks downtown is..." or "Even though it was a great idea to have the fireworks at the lake, what I liked about having the fireworks downtown vs. at the lake is...". You know, like that! If I were a Jaycee (whoever they are... sorry, I'm new here), I would find it difficult to want to do anything for such an ungrateful bunch. Couldn't you be more constructive getting involved rather than complaining?

unknownperson 9 years, 11 months ago

every one who says they wont see it when its at Clinton its your own fault for making fireworks outlawed in lawrence stupid liberals

bearded_gnome 9 years, 11 months ago

"Ragged Old Flag"I walked through a county courthouse squareOn a park bench, an old man was sittin' there.I said, "Your old court house is kinda run down,He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town".I said, "Your old flag pole is leaned a little bit,And that's a ragged old flag you got hangin' on it".He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down,"Is this the first time you've been to our little town"I said, "I think it is"He said "I don't like to brag, but we're kinda proud ofThat Ragged Old Flag"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,When Washington took it across the Delaware.and It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it,writing "Say Can You See"It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jacksontugging at its seams.and It almost fell at the Alamobeside the Texas flag,But she waved on though.She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,And the south wind blew hard onThat Ragged Old Flag"On Flanders Field in World War I,She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun,She turned blood red in World War IIShe hung limp, and low, a time or two,She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sentby her Uncle Sam.She waved from our ships upon the briny foamand now they've about quit wavin' back here at homein her own good land here She's been abused,She's been burned, dishonored, denied an' refused,And the government for which she standsHas been scandalized throughout out the land.And she's getting thread bare, and she's wearin' thin,But she's in good shape, for the shape she's in.Cause she's been through the fire beforeand i believe she can take a whole lot more."So we raise her up every morningAnd we bring her down slow every night,We don't let her touch the ground,And we fold her up right.On second thoughtI do like to bragCause I'm mighty proud ofThat Ragged Old Flag"[ ]

RomanNose 9 years, 11 months ago

It was the dumbest idea to move it out there. It was dangerous having to park on the side of the highway while cars zoomed by. I will not go again if they have it out there next year.

taucetiman 9 years, 11 months ago

zettapixel...ever thought about walking?a normal 30 sec ride at 30mph is only 1/4 of a mile, why drive?vavs0929...thats what we did we walked about 1 1/2 miles to get to the spillway area, not crowded and we were REAL close (the detonations were nearly overhead) hats off to the intelligent people who drove in to southwest neighborhoods and then rode their bikes into the viewing are very downtonocentric, i always used to have drive to see the fireworks from where i live, so this year since they were somewhat close to my house our whole family walked, which balances out at least your having to driveobviously some people don't know the lay of land around clinton lake, they should have had other parking areas, such as YSI, eagle bend and work with HyVee for parking space there and shuttle from therebut I think the area offers much more of a 360 degree viewing opportunity with less likelihood of someone falling into the river from burcham should be the permanent site

Bubarubu 9 years, 11 months ago

I live w. of Kasold, and I thought this would be a great move. Getting out there was easy (left the house around 9), but there was absolutely no direction re: parking. We ended parking at the turn for the dog park and then walking 10 minutes to the "freshly mowed field" to see the show. There was no indication that closer parking was available that would have allowed us to get out without having to negotiate two-way traffic on the road between the dog park and the turn. Once we got back to the car, we were forced to go left (like kef, and the dozens of other cars around us) so that we could go about 6 miles in 45 minutes to get home. At least there were multiple routes into downtown, easy to find parking, and lots of ways to get out. I was hoping the move would work out, but if last night is any indication, it was a big mistake.

sammiesays 9 years, 11 months ago

I think the show was good but the traffic problems should have been thought out.....You really couldn't see the police trying to direct traffic.....They were dressed in dark pants, gray shirt and itty bitty flashlights.....Where were their reflector vests? It's a surprise that not one them got hit because they were not well lit up in all that traffic....I hope they were not just in their vehicles.....

selah 9 years, 11 months ago

I've been lurking on the boards a few days, and I must say, it's interesting how just about any topic can spiral into an all-out liberal/conservative-bashing good time, regardless of the original point.As far as the show went, I thought it was nice. The timing was a bit off, but beyond that, the jaycees put on a good show. This being the first year at the lake, of course things didn't go as smoothly as planned. They would probably benefit next year by having people park further away and running shuttles back and forth. Another idea for next year (and I realize this won't work for everybody, children, the elderly, and the like)- there is a nice bike trail that goes straight to the lake; it runs past several large parking lots (Hyvee at 23rd, Southwind Cinema). My boyfriend and I loaded up some sandwiches and drinks in our backpacks and rode from our apartment at 15th and Kasold out to the lake. We got there early and had a fantastic view from the east side of Sanders Mound. Traffic wasn't really a problem for us; in fact, we probably beat most of you home. Something to consider for those of you worried about the green-ness of the decision to move.

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