Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fireworks display moving to Clinton Lake

Those trying to see the Fourth of July fireworks from downtown Lawrence this year will probably miss out. The Lawrence Jaycees have moved this year's show out of Burcham Park because of safety concerns.

June 18, 2008, 3:39 p.m. Updated June 19, 2008, 12:00 a.m.


On the street

Where do you go to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July?

My friend lives by a golf course in Kansas City and they put on a good show every year, so I usually go there.

More responses

Safety concerns have prompted organizers to move the annual Fourth of July fireworks display from Burcham Park, on the south side of the Kansas River, to Sesquicentennial Point at Clinton Lake.

In past years, about 5,000 people have crammed into the park, at Second and Indiana streets, and along the Second Street Bridge, leading into North Lawrence, to watch the fireworks, said Gary Saathoff of the Lawrence Jaycees, which organizes the annual display.

"There was always a fear, being next to the river like that, somebody could fall in. We've known for quite some time that we weren't going to be able to stay at Burcham Park forever," he said.

This July Fourth, people are invited to park in a field below Sesquicentennial Point, at the north end of the Clinton Dam north of the spillway, to watch the fireworks show. But only 2,000 cars will fit.

Saathoff said the fireworks likely would be visible from Clinton Lake and surrounding neighborhoods, but the field is the only organized viewing location.

"Please be patient with us and we'll try to do the best we can. If you've got a problem, we'll fix it next year," he said.

The City of Lawrence, Army Corps of Engineers, Lawrence Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff and Kansas Highway Patrol are participating in the planning for the event and will help direct traffic before and after the show, Saathoff said.

The fireworks display starts at 10 p.m. July 4 and is expected to last between 30 and 45 minutes. The Jaycees spent $14,000 - $2,000 more than last year - on fireworks. The field will be open to cars beginning at 8 p.m. There won't be a concert before the fireworks display this year because there's no electricity at Sesquicentennial Point, Saathoff said. However, there will be vendors selling shaved ice and ice cream.


1029 10 years ago

What they should do is just broadcast a fireworks display on Channel 6. That way we could all stay safe in our houses and not have to deal with that deadly river or deadly Clinton Lake. The Lawrence celebration has really gotten out of hand the last few years with all those people falling in the river.

Piggles 10 years ago

Misterlee: I'm not sure how true this is- but my mom used to work with a lady who was a member of the Jaycees that provided the fireworks show at Memorial Stadium, but supposedly Jaycees couldn't pay their insurance if someone got hurt and KU kicked them out of the stadium. That was when Jaycees moved the fireworks show from the football stadium to the river and I haven't been back since. I do miss the shows at Memorial Stadium and I have wonderful memories of my family all going to the fireworks show there.

Easy 10 years ago

They should make the road at the top of the dam one way during the fireworks show so that they can park people up there, that would be a nice vantage point.

1029 10 years ago

It's always good for people to get out there and drive their cars more. Plus, the festive display of a community coming together in the downtown area has always disgusted me.Hopefully, in 2009 they'll move the display to Olathe.

cowboy 10 years ago

organized fireworks displays are for sissies , small children , and retired people , and that crabby a$$ old man who used to call the police on my kids every year. Legalize the Fourth of July again in Lawrence ! wheres the worst place to spend the fourth , in Lawrence of course !

hockmano 10 years ago

What ever happened to good old fashioned fun?I think more people would show up at Burcham since alot of them park at other spots nearby and walk to the location.Who the hell wants to drive all the way to Clinton Lake?I will shoot off my own.So go ahead and call the cops now.

kugrad 10 years ago

Now the West Lawrence crowd won't have to slum in North Lawrence. They'll be able to see the fireworks from their mcmansions out by Langston Hughes and Corpus Christi. They won't even have to mingle with the commoners who will drive out that way, if they can afford the gas. Bad move. No one has fallen in the river and been hurt all these years, but hey, it could happen, so let's just move the whole thing out to the lake. No one could fall in a lake, right?This blows.

fu7il3 10 years ago

Has anyone actually fallen in the river? Or is this just a paranoid baseless fear? I'm not being sarcastic, I just can't recall an incident since I have been in Lawrence.

MattressMan 10 years ago

Hawk, they used to have a festival called "Independence Days" at Burcham if you were around 25 years or so ago. Lasted 2 or 3 days and had an old fashioned theme, guess there werent enough people interested to keep it afloat. For those that think falling in the river is no big deal, with the water flow right now you fall into that river there aint no getting out. All it takes is one stupid person, warning signs or not someone would get blamed and most likely held liable. So with that maybe it'll be back down at the river next year if the water levels are at normal stage.Somebody said something about ticks out there, do ticks not exist in Burcham park?

Stopbreakindown 10 years ago

Blah Blah Blah No one cares; how pathetic Booooooooooooooooooo

packs_of_wild_dogzz 10 years ago

Some on you must have really boring lives. Is it really a big deal or do you just complain to pass the time?

igby 10 years ago

There's no businesses open downtown anyway. What a loss of revenue for the past 17 years. I have wondered why 25,000 people would go see this show, when not one store is open for business downtown. Just cancel the show, no one really cares anyway! Nothing open at the lake either.

Bill Lee 10 years ago

What they should do is move the fireworks back to KU's Memorial Stadium, where they started. It was safe and convenient. I never understood the move to the river unless it was KU deciding the Jaycees had to start paying rent in order to stay at the stadium. Any oldtimers know why the move happened?

Easy 10 years ago

For those of us with boats this is a great move, should be fun.

Kat Christian 10 years ago

Crap... Well guess I'm staying home this year. I was just getting to enjoy the piddly fireworks here in Lawrence - coming from the East Coast where DC has an awesome display. I don't recall anyone falling in the river. In fact, I don't recall anything bad happening in the last 2 years I've been there. Oh well hip-hip-hurray America - I'm not coming to your party this year.

1029 10 years ago

Yeah, I saw like twenty people fall into the river last year. That's what happens when people go near rivers- they fall in. Great idea, Lawrence Jaycees, that river is sooooooo dangerous. Now we can all drive drunk all the way out to Clinton Lake and back instead of walking to the river of death.

OnlyTheOne 10 years ago

misterleeThey claimed it was "dangerous" and "expensive" to insure. Of course all the folks sitting up on the south lawn watching who didn't pay to attend but gave donations anyway really perturbed them.

TacoBob 10 years ago

Ah yes, fireworks at Memorial Stadium. Back when you could buy fireworks and shoot them off at your house. Great fun. I remember lighting sparklers and throwing them off the top of the stadium and watching them land on the cars below. They must have left a nice mark in the paint as they burned out. Seem to recall the fireworks being at Haskell too. Cars were parked further back there. What is the statute of limitations on vandalism?

Sigmund 10 years ago

misterlee (Anonymous) says: "What they should do is move the fireworks back to KU's Memorial Stadium, where they started." How many downtown businesses have store fronts at memorial stadium? I would have thought that Downtown Lawrence Inc would be willing to pony up some money to draw a crowd to their cash registers.inatux (Anonymous) says: "Lawrence sucks my soul out sometimes."That is the Nanny State writing laws to protect future Darwin Award winners so that they can grow up and become Legislature and Administrators for the State of Kansas and the City of Lawrence.

OnlyTheOne 10 years ago

Every story has a secret to tell.Just in case you missed this one's Here' it is,"would be visible from Clinton Lake and surrounding neighborhoods."I mean, after all, why should all them yuppies be expected to drive clear down to shanty town to view fireworks?

TopJayhawk 10 years ago

Multidisciplinary, you do crack me up LOL.. I live six blocks from lake Shawnee in Topeka. Everyone in town goes to the lake and it gets a bit crazy. But we do use the busses, and the park and ride idea. That part does work out well. Also lots of arts and crafts stuff, boat races and water skiing. But we also spend about twice to three times what you do for fireworks. It is a pretty good show. Not like the old days when they would shoot one shell about every minute.. boom.......boom..... what a hoot.

Baille 10 years ago

There are bike trails all the way out to the point. This should be fun.

Steve Jacob 10 years ago

Hey, at least more cops will be out of town, so we can get away with our fireworks easier. :)

MarianKay 10 years ago

I hope they provide shuttles for all the people who prefer not to drive or were planning to walk to the show.

conservativepunker 10 years ago

I can't believe that so many people in a progressive town like Lawrence would get upset over change.....oh yeah that's right...change is good until it affects what YOU believe in....

yankeelady 10 years ago

And now too many obstructions. and of course the athletic department would want to charge big bucks for admission, probably to the entire campus.

inatux 10 years ago

Boring indeed. No offense to the Jaycees, I'd just rather shoot off my own. Lawrence sucks my soul out sometimes.

vegetablegirl 10 years ago

misterlee-too much damage to the field....

GardenMomma 10 years ago

No, falling into a river will just get you wet and maybe drown you or poison you from the pollution. Falling into a dam will get you first bounced off the rocks with maybe a head injury or broken legs and then into the water where hopefully it is shallower at the edge. Not to mention all those drunk boaters out there who hopefully will come over to help you out. : )

Baille 10 years ago

See definition 2: said, the tick situation out there could be interesting.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

why don't they just rename it the Clinton township or Clinton lake fireworks show? It is not the lawrence fourth of july display any more. This is really a sad day for Lawrence.

Marcy McGuffie 10 years ago

I don't think it's a huge deal that it was moved, though I'm a bit disappointed on a personal level. Now, others get a better view from their own homes. I always had a nice viewpoint near my house and we've enjoyed cooking out and inviting others over to view the show. But, I do think the explanation's kind of lame and it sounds like the Jaycees kinda threw it together at the last minute. I'm not sure it's all that organized? I guess we'll wait and see. No skin off my back. Just a bit weird, imo.Haha. People whining about whiners. Dangit - now, that screechy Alanis Morissette song's playing in my head. What is it called? Oh yeah..."Ironic." No, Alanis - rain on your wedding day, isn't ironic!

Deb Stavin 10 years ago

"There was always a fear, being next to the river like that, somebody could fall in."Oh good grief! Of course somebody could fall in. So what? If the city posts simply warning signs, would that be enough to absolve them of any liability if some idiot drowns? Aren't they afraid someone might fall off of Clinton dam? It's damn close to Sesquicentennial point.This will take a good night's business away from downtown. It was always fun to head downtown right after the fireworks.

Victoria 10 years ago

Well, we can all walk on the path out there or ride bikes on the bike trail out there and avoid the traffic. Most of us are too fat anyway. Those who are elderly and with young children could ride the T, if transportation is provided, or will have to take cars. (Probably there will be no T transportation provided since it is outside the city limits and liability, blah, blah, blah. ) I've been many places for 4th of July fireworks...Honolulu, California, Phoenix, Seattle, on lakes, and even in Oklahoma. The traffic and congestion is challenging to navigate where ever you's just part of the process if one wants to watch fireworks from close up. It usually takes an hour or more (2+ hours in Honolulu) to go the 5 miles home after a 40 minute fireworks display, it's just all part of it. Go with the flow, be happy, or keep your grumpy self at home.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

Punker it is not the change it is the location, they have taken it clear out of lawrence, and that is what people are upset about. This is not the first change to happen to the display but at least the last one kept it in the city now it is not even the lawrence display anymore.

CL Maurer 10 years ago

The reason the Jaycees do not shot the fireworks show at KU Memorial Stadium is for the required safety zone from the fireworks shooting location. The minmum distance is 600 feet from the show location that no one other than the display operaters and safety personnel. That is in all directions, the KU track from one end to the other is 600 feet.

number1jayhawker 10 years ago

Good grief, some of you act like the eastern edge of Clinton Lake by the dam is way out in no-mans land. It's 5 minutes from 23rd and Iowa for crying out loud.If they are powerful fireworks, they should be going high enough into the air so people can see them for miles.

Marcy McGuffie 10 years ago

mommaeffortx2 (Anonymous) says:rammy why so hateful?______Insecurity. My theory goes deeper, but I'm afraid the LJW censors wouldn't approve...

KURocks 10 years ago

What a bunch of pathetic whiners we have in this town. Oh no, now you have to drive all the way out to Clinton Lake to watch fireworks. I like the idea, please stay home so we have less traffic after the fireworks display.

hockmano 10 years ago

packs_of_wild_dogzz (Anonymous) says: Some on you must have really boring lives. Is it really a big deal or do you just complain to pass the time?While there are some that make posts who really do complain about each and everything under the sun, most are complaining about a valid issue.Such as moving the fireworks display all the way across town.They dont want a Wal Mart on the westside, but I guess a huge crowd of drunks at the lake is okay.At least the drunks could walk to the display downtown.Now, they will have to drive and put all of us in danger to get to the festivities.Like I said, I will shoot off my own fireworks thanks.Most of the cops will be up by the lake.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

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packs_of_wild_dogzz 10 years ago

"This is really a sad day for Lawrence."You've got to be kidding. Half you idiots probably have to drive the same distance whether going to Burcham park or Clinton. It' ain't like the lake is 150 miles away. Look at the bright side, you can stay home and complain about it.

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