Fourth of July Weekend Events
2011 Tour of Lawrence, Crown Toyota Street Sprints. For more information, go to touroflawrence.com
5:30-8 p.m.: Free Kids Zone play area, Eighth & Mass
7 p.m.: Women Open race, Eighth & New Hampshire
After women’s race: Men Open race, Eighth & New Hampshire
5:30-7 p.m., then after races until 11 p.m.: Live music, Eighth & Mass
2011 Tour of Lawrence, KU Campus Circuit Race
8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Various races, KU campus
2011 Tour of Lawrence, LMH Downtown Criterium
8 a.m.-10:20 a.m.: Mass Street Mile runs, Ninth & Mass
10 a.m.: Kids Bike Race registration (race at 11 a.m.), Ninth & Mass
11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Free Kids Zone play area, Ninth & Mass
12 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Various races, Ninth & Mass
Fourth of July Festival & Fireworks, Watson Park
Food vendors open at 2 p.m.
2-3:30 p.m.: Konza Swamp Band
4-5:30 p.m.: Billy Ebling
6-7:30 p.m.: The Brandon Miller Band
8-9:30 p.m.: Soul’d Out
9:45 p.m.: Fireworks
A group of Lawrence restaurant owners has plans to make this year’s Fourth of July celebration bigger and better than ever.
For the third year in a row, the Lawrence Originals — 21 locally owned restaurants — will help fund the fireworks display traditionally put on by the Lawrence Jaycees. The group is kicking in $7,000, a little more than half the tab for the fireworks, according to Lawrence Originals President Doug Holiday, owner of Biggs BBQ.
The display includes about 2,000 mostly 5- and 6-inch shells, which will be shot off from behind Johnny’s Tavern, north of downtown.
“I think we could have a lot bigger show out at the (Clinton) lake, but people want it here downtown,” said Gary Saathoff, head of the Jaycees.
Organizers expect between 8,000 and 10,000 people at Watson Park, double the number from 2009 and many more than last year, when rain threatened to cancel the event.
Lawrence Originals vendors will offer food and drinks starting at 2 p.m., and four bands will play leading up to the fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Children’s activities will also be available.
The centerpiece of the day could be an Iron Chef-style competition put on by Tom Wilson, the owner of Teller’s Restaurant. His three chefs will put together dishes from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests can buy a ticket for all three plates for $20 and then vote on the winner. The results will be announced after the fireworks show, kicking off an after-party.
The Teller’s event will take place in a 2,000-square-foot enclosure at the corner of Sixth and Kentucky streets featuring stadium seating for the fireworks. Admission is $10.
Wilson, who is investing $20,000 in the event, expects to serve 8,000 drinks and 1,200 plates of food.
“I’m confident that if I build it, they will come,” he said. “I think it’s fun. I think it’s a great addition to the park.”
Wilson said the entire celebration should be “bigger than Lawrence has ever seen” and he sees it growing each year.
Holiday agreed that with greater awareness of the event it should be able to draw crowds from the surrounding area and generate more revenue for downtown businesses.
“People know about it now and know what we’re doing,” he said. “A lot of smaller towns don’t even have fireworks displays now because of budget cuts. We hope to bring people to town and have a nice event.”
Wilson expects to hear Monday about final approval of permits by city officials, who he said had some concerns about the footprint the celebration might leave on the park.
Teller’s Restaurant Chef Competition: The Contestants
- Patrick Chow-Yuen: the restaurant’s French-trained executive chef. Recently arrived from Denver, he has cooked for Princess Diana and Michael Jackson and worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Kansas City. “Hands down the most experienced chef in Lawrence,” claims Teller’s owner Tom Wilson.
- Dave Blauer: a local who has worked at Teller’s for about six years. “He knows this town, he knows the people,” Wilson says. “He knows what they want.”
- Bo Stephenson: the young up-and-comer, fresh out of Johnson County Community College’s culinary school and now the sous chef at Teller’s. “It’s his first competition,” says Wilson. “He’s nervous, excited, fired up.”