Two years doesn’t exactly make it a tradition, but it’s great to see the Lawrence Originals again teaming up with the Lawrence Jaycees to help Lawrence celebrate the Fourth of July.
The Lawrence Originals, a group of independently owned local restaurants, stepped up last year when the Jaycees were in need of financial support for their annual fireworks display. A new event was born, featuring local musicians and food from local restaurants that set up booths around Watson Park. Thousands of people showed up.
The only disappointment was the fact that trees at the north end of the park blocked the view of groundworks and some of the lower displays being fired off from the Kansas River levee. According to organizers, the Jaycees plan to shoot their fireworks from a higher spot this year and use fireworks that fly a little higher in the air. That should address the only significant flaw in last year’s event.
The Lawrence Originals were the main impetus behind the Lawrence Give Back Card, which allows users to designate a percentage of what they pay for meals, merchandise or services as a contribution to a local charitable group. Twenty-three local restaurants and 20 other local businesses now accept the card and, according to the Give Back website, have donated more than $70,000 to Lawrence organizations. People who use the card also receive points that can be redeemed at participating businesses. It’s great to reward local customers for patronizing local businesses.
In their publicity about the July 4 event, the organizers call it a celebration of “Independent’s Day,” because it’s an opportunity to recognize “all the great local and independently owned businesses that make Lawrence such a cool place to live.”
We heartily agree. The locally owned restaurants and businesses who are part of the Give Back program are a great part of the local culture. We appreciate them all year round but the July 4 celebration is special gift to the community. We’re glad to see it coming back for a second year and look forward to it becoming a long-standing Lawrence tradition