Archive for Monday, July 7, 2008

Jaycees happy with fireworks show at Sesquicentennial Point

While fireworks are nothing new on Independence Day, this year's venue proved to be a change for pyrotechnics fans in Lawrence.

July 7, 2008


Firework footage from Sesquicentennial Point

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

The surroundings may have been different this year, but the Lawrence Jaycees are happy with the result of their Fourth of July fireworks show at Sesquicentennial Point.

"We had a little traffic issue right at the beginning and at the end when everybody was leaving," said Gary Saathoff, the president of the Jaycees, "but it didn't take long to clear out, and everybody I talked to in the park enjoyed themselves and had a good time."

Saathoff estimates that about 1,200 cars were present and about 4,000 people watched the fireworks at the new venue near Clinton Lake. And as the first year in a new location, it wasn't perfect.

"I don't know if it's going to happen next year, but we would like to have some music and a live band," Saathoff said. "There was an issue with we didn't have very many vendors."

With gates opening at 8 p.m., some fireworks enthusiasts were ready and waiting beforehand. "We had some cars lining up before the gate opened, clear out onto the dam : and that caused some issues," Saathoff said. "Other than that, I can't really think of anything that was really an issue that caused big problems."

The fireworks had been shot off near the Kansas River in past years and, for some, the event lost a bit of tradition with the move out west.

Dan Hughes, owner of Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop and a board member for Downtown Lawrence Inc., said his family used to watch the show, but the different venue changed that.

"It just seemed like too far to get those kids out there and get them back," he said. "We ended up just hanging around the house and doing what we normally do but without the grand finale of the Jaycees' fireworks."

Even though his store was closed for the holiday, Hughes said it seemed like something was missing this Independence Day.

"It seemed like there was less activity going on," he said. "People weren't keyed to go down and watch them near the river."

Saathoff said that safety was one reason for the move.

"We had to do what's safe and what's going to keep the public safe," he said. "It just kept getting (more crowded): it wasn't safe to have it at the park."

Saathoff said he is meeting later in the week with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lawrence city leaders and the Lawrence police department to talk about any issues or problems with the new location.

"We will certainly address them, and hopefully it will be a permanent site," he said. "Hopefully we'll have an even bigger crowd next year."


jayhawkbarrister 9 years, 11 months ago

'Little parking problem' goes right up there with "How did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln? and "Dallas loves you, Mr. President."

KSChick1 9 years, 11 months ago

"East Lawrence homeowners are complaining! " (from a post above)No, we're not. This didn't have anything to do with us and I don't give a rat's patootie!

Joel Hood 9 years, 11 months ago

We stopped going downtown years ago because of the traffic. This year we went out to YSI. The parking lot was closed, so we parked nearby and walked. The traffic coming out wasn't too bad from where we parked. I bet this will be the long-term home. Sesquicentennial Park doesn't seem to have a whole lot more going for it right now, unless I am missing something.

absolutelyridiculous 9 years, 11 months ago

You could definately see the show better at the lake. More room for everyone and I think there were more than 4,000 people around. Outlet park was packed and we just went south past Eagle Bend and around to Kasold to get home...about 20 minutes to nw lawrence.

DaREEKKU 9 years, 11 months ago

The show wasn't anything spectacular, but the crowd was terrible. People were sniping at other people and at one point I heard a comment directed towards a couple that was there: "Fireworks don't like fags." All in all, people are stupid, the show wasn't fantastic and all of that wasted money could have gone to fill pot holes.

Confrontation 9 years, 11 months ago

Oh, the humanity! People had to wait! Kids got tired! The grass was green! West Lawrence homeowners are complaining! East Lawrence homeowners are complaining! North Lawrence homeowners are complaining!

zettapixel 9 years, 11 months ago

The traffic issue wasn't so little out around my neighborhood. Cars parked on both sides of the street... cars parked on Clinton Parkway near the round about... a car parked in my driveway. Then top it off with beer bottles all over the place, empty fireworks casings all over the place, and you have a nice mess on your hands. Is anyone going to compensate the home builders that are building houses in the area and had people leaving beer bottles all over the new foundation? I'm sure they needed a crew to pick up all the trash that was left behind. Here are some recommendations for next year if you plan on having the show at the lake again:a) Block off Lake Pointe Drive (the street that goes from the round about to the new houses out in that area. Have police officers there directing traffic and letting residents that belong there in. b) Don't let people park on Clinton Parkway near the round about. Don't you think it's dangerous to park on a road with no shoulders with traffic that normally goes 45+ MPH?c) Ticket anyone setting off fireworks and drinking beer on private property around the area. Leaving behind a mess of beer bottles and discarded fireworks is not the neighborly thing to do and you really shouldn't be doing it on someone else's property.I don't mean to sound like the Grinch that Stole the 4th of July, but what would you do if you were in the same situation and had people totally disregarding your property, interfering with the flow of traffic, and leaving a bunch of garbage behind?

webmocker 9 years, 11 months ago

Meatwad says:"I feel angry that my tax payer dollars pay for this show and it's moved so far away and to such an inconvenient place, I don't enjoy it at all."Your tax payer dollars don't pay for the fireworks. The Jaycees do.

kmat 9 years, 11 months ago

It kills me that they say they had to move the show because of safety concerns because someone might fall in the river (even though it's never happened), but where did KC, MO have their big party and foreworks show - Riverfront Park. People lined up along the Bug MO River. Amazing how it's safe to have the show by the river in KC, but not in Lawrence. Lawrence was pretty lame this year without the fireworks downtown. And my neighbors said it took forever to get out of the Clinton Lake area and wasn't worth the drive. Glad I skipped it.

givingisfun 9 years, 11 months ago

I thought that the show out at Clinton Lake this year was really nice. I didn't like the fireworks display at the river at all. With the people and children lined up on the bridge always worried me. I have friends that went on the bridge for the show and almost every year there were several incedenses with intoxicated people argueing and shoving each other. It's a miracle that someone, especially children, were not hurt or even worse shoved over the rails into the river. At the lake this year everyone had plenty of room to picnic with family and friends or just sit and visit. I didn't see any children complaining about not having a play ground to play at. I saw them playing frisbie and playing catch with baseballs and footballs with lots of room to move around. As for traffic, I do agree that the police should have monitored the parking on Clinton Parkway and private driveways. That should not be allowed at all. It didn't take that long to leave the event and I think that the police officers did a great job of directing the traffic. I think that no matter where the event takes place there will always be likes and dislikes.

My_Voice 9 years, 11 months ago

So... Basically they decided to move the crappy fireworks show all the way across town... Why exactly? Lawrence has officially killed the 4th for me, after being here for 6 years and never hearing anything positive come from this, what should be, magnificent occasion, I give up.... People are stupid.

Tammy Copp-Barta 9 years, 11 months ago

zettapixel ... do you mean like they've been doing in North Lawrence (both sides of the river) the last 15ish years? Or how about the Oread neighborhood before that when it was at the stadium .. stand out on your own property and tell people to pick up the trash or get off your property. I had a car paint job ruined when fireworks fell over and went off on my car one time parked over around Indiana street while we were at the river. So your problem is not new .. deal with it .. we all have had to - it's just YOUR turn now.

cds 9 years, 11 months ago

Have to agree with lawrenceks66 on this zettapixel, you have obviously never lived near downtown. If you think it's so horrable that you had to put up with it for one day out of the year, please move to the downtown area so you can enjoy it all the time.

Beth Ennis 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad the Jaycee's are happy, but we sure weren't. We went down to the Clinton Lake sports complex to watch the show. We didn't want to get tied up with all the traffic out at the lake. The problem we had was that everyone was lighting off fireworks all through the parking lot. We were trying to watch the fireworks, but I was so nervous about being hit with the "illegal" fireworks that were going off in all different directions, landing on the ground while still red hot, etc, that we left. I love fireworks as much as the next guy, but lets be safe about it. The other problem I have is that why did Lawrence make fireworks illegal when they have no intention of enforcing the law? A friend of ours went to the park across from her house Sat morning and started picking up all the debris left over. She lives right in town and obviously no one showed up to tell these folks that fireworks are illegal in town. BTW, she was joined by a city employee who was there only to empty the trash containers (the park pickup was suppose to be done by the full-time employees on Monday) and ended up staying and helping her pick up the whole park. You don't have to live over by Clinton Lake to have the trash pickup problems. I realize they were worried about safety downtown, but cars parking on k10 and the situation in the parking lot at the sports complex are not safe either.

Jim Phillips 9 years, 11 months ago

OK, so many of the fine residents of Larryville have no respect for anyone else's property. What's new? "Anything we want to do is OK as long as we're having fun and to H*** with you!"

trollkiller 9 years, 11 months ago

who wants to leave town to see the fireworks? What a failure. Maybe a different organization will take over the fireworks and shoot them from the levy next year

mindylogan83 9 years, 11 months ago

most of you deal with this but for some you need to chill out and relize yea it may be a tradirtion to have it at the water front but they moving it around to different places cause of safety if your child got hurt then you would be conplaning and feeling like they dont care i have lived in this state for 3 years and all i see is ungreatful people go live out of are country and see what they have to deal with and yes i am a us citizen but there is always worse then you have if you are mad cause of what they did nobody tusted your arm to go and and then to come back and complanin about something frrreee damn get a life then bitching all the time

rcs3 9 years, 11 months ago

I love the new location! I've never been able to see them over all the trees before, and this year I had a front row seat. I was worried, as the last 2 years, I've been very disappointed with Lawrence and the 4th of July. I almost drove to Kansas City this year. But I decided I'd give the new location a try, and it was well worth it. I felt like traffic was handled in a reasonable way, considering the amount of cars...I've definately sat in traffic for far fewer cars. I also think traffic by the river was much worse the past two years, even when I've left the show before the grand finale.

NurseRatched 9 years, 11 months ago

The city should have opened up the YSI and Clinton Lake Complex parking lots. These are HUGE parking lots that could have housed many vehicles in safe off street parking, which would have helped a lot of the traffic problems. I have been to the show when it was at the river and the parking/traffic was crazy there too. No matter where it is, someone will be unhappy.

Secret_Agent 9 years, 11 months ago

I didn't get to see the fireworks. I've always been able to walk to them in the past. I wish we had better public transportation here.

conservative 9 years, 11 months ago

I took my kids and we enjoyed it. I agree they could have done a better job of moving the traffic, but given that it was the first year I suspect they'll learn and improve.As far as the lame comment, not sure where that came from. I was impressed with the length of the show. Came in at just under 45 minutes. I missed seeing the fireworks that go off in geometrical shapes but my son informed me that one of the major fireworks makers had a fire at their factory and that selection and prices were severely affected by this.The two things I missed from when it was at the river was the kids didn't have a playground to go play on (of course it was always so packed not sure this is really an issue), and would have been nice to have a few vendors to wander by and have the kids begging to buy stuff from.Of course then again the one tent that was set up was giving away free stuff in the form of cool glasses (think paper 3D glasses) that had gradients in them to make the fireworks look even cooler to the kids, free glow in the dark necklaces, ......A big thank you to everyone who put on this years show!

Buggie7 9 years, 11 months ago

Im sure it was great but next year you should find family or a country road near Eudora and watch from there. I didnt even buy fireworks this year. Not only did the high school here do a beautiful 90 minute job but the whole town lit up from about 8:45 till about 1 am. I had them all around me and would like to thank the whole town of Eudora. This is my first year living here and it was the most beautiful 3rd 4th and 5th I have ever seen.

Meatwad 9 years, 11 months ago

I sincerely hope they move it back to the river. Who wants to be stuck in traffic. I saw cars back up all the way down Clinton Parkway, barely moving, while the fireworks show was starting. How sad for those people and the kids in the cars to have to miss the show because they are stuck in a car. That never happened when the show was at the river. People could park downtown and walk. People in N. Lawrence, E. Lawrence and Old West Lawrence could walk from their homes or ride their bikes. I feel angry that my tax payer dollars pay for this show and it's moved so far away and to such an inconvenient place, I don't enjoy it at all.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Topeka's was great. With the use of shuttle busses, traffic wasn't bad at all. No one got shot. It was everything a Lawrence citizen could have asked for.

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