Bicycle races, a food festival and a new spot to catch the fireworks show will bring changes to Lawrence’s traditional Independence Day celebration.
Starting off with the professional cycling event, the Tour of Lawrence, downtown will be the center of activity for the Fourth of July.
Later in the day, Watson Park will be host to the Lawrence Originals, an event that features live music and food and drink from 18 locally owned restaurants.
Watson Park will also be the best spot to catch the main attraction — the Lawrence Jaycees fireworks display.
After several years of crowds gathering at Burcham Park to watch the show, the Jaycees moved the display to Sesquicentennial Point at Clinton Lake in 2008. But many wanted the show to return to downtown, Lawrence Originals coordinator Constance Wolfe said.
“(Fourth of July) can be a ghost town around here. We wanted to bring some life back into the area, and we feel like the logical place to do it is the downtown,” Wolfe said.
This year, the crowd, which is expected to number in the thousands, can watch the show in the park area near Sixth and Kentucky streets. Bringing blankets, lawn chairs and bug spray is recommended.
With so much activity downtown, Wolfe said finding parking could be difficult. The closest lots to the fireworks display are on Vermont Street. To avoid searching for a spot, Wolfe suggests walking, biking or carpooling.