Archive for Monday, July 2, 2012

Providing annual fireworks show a blast for rural Lawrence man

July 2, 2012


Rural Lawrence resident G.R. Gordon-Ross and his buddies have a saying they trot out each year before they begin their fireworks show for family and friends.

“We tell them that if nobody showed up we would still do the same thing because we like blowing stuff up,” Gordon-Ross said.

There seems to be little worry about no one showing up. Gordon-Ross’ private show attracted 400 people to the city-owned Youth Sports Complex on Friday night, and created a healthy heaping of curiosity from West Lawrence residents who saw the 20-minute show from miles around.

Gordon-Ross said it was the ninth year he and three other area residents have put on a large show for their family and friends. But this is the first year the group went through the process to get a permit to have the show at the Youth Sports Complex. Previously, the show was shot from Gordon-Ross’ home just south of Lawrence near Wells Overlook.

“But I started getting concerned about having 5,000 people or some number like that show up at my house some day,” Gordon-Ross said.

Gordon-Ross said Parks and Recreation leaders were open to allowing the show to occur at the Youth Sports Complex after learning he and his friends are licensed to shoot commercial-grade fireworks.

But don’t be confused, the group doesn’t do fireworks shows for a living. Gordon-Ross is an information technology specialist in the health care field, and his three partners wish to remain anonymous. He said he received his commercial license because he wanted to provide a high-quality show for his family and friends.

“I’ve probably been putting on shows for my family since I was about 10 years old,” Gordon-Ross said.

A Lawrence ordinance bans the use of most fireworks inside the city limits, but permits are available for those who have a commercial license, can show proper proof of insurance and meet several site requirements, said Jim King, Lawrence fire marshal.

Friday’s show included a variety of large fireworks that commonly are seen at community celebrations, including three-inch, four-inch and six-inch shells. It also included a whole bunch of root beer floats. About 250 floats were provided to audience members, and about 400 sparklers were given to children in the crowd.

Gordon-Ross said technically the show is a private event, but group members really don’t do much to limit attendance.

“It started out as family and friends, and then it became friends of friends and friends of friends of friends and on down the line,” Gordon-Ross said. “It just grows by word-of-mouth.”

The organizers charge no admission to the show. Gordon-Ross didn’t provide an estimate on how much they spend for the event, but noted Hy-Vee does help the group with low cost supplies for the root beer floats.

“It’s not cheap though,” Gordon-Ross said of running the event.

But he has a saying when the subject of the show’s expenses come up too.

“I tell people that my family budget doesn’t have a line item for Christmas but it sure does for the Fourth of July,” he said.


devobrun 5 years, 11 months ago

Way to go G.R.G.R. It is Dada at its best. Useless information intended for nobody in particular. Lots of sensory stimulous. All sound, light and nothing to show for it. Sorta like the information technology in the health care business that you service.

Thank you for your service to society, Mr. Gr.G.R......

Wait, is this a spoof? Have I been led into a Dada prank by Grrrr.Grrrr? Is this an artistic exercise in useless information?
Am I about to die from some malady that came about from the internet? Promulgated on a computer program that said...........blow stuff up?

The mind is a....twitter with possibilies (note the Blazing Saddles reference).

ThePilgrim 5 years, 11 months ago

What the heck are you talking about? And BTW - IT in the healthcare field is booming, with the move toward electronic medical records and especially because of the race to become compliant with Obamacare.

JaKenRo 5 years, 11 months ago

Someone is sad because they didn't get an invite :(

ThePilgrim 5 years, 11 months ago

Good for Gordon-Ross. And good for Lawrence. West Lawrence (and the city in general) got a free fireworks show on his dime. Guaranteed that hundreds, if not thousands, of people showed up who were not his "friends".

candaceflynn 5 years, 11 months ago

It was a GREAT show from a class act guy!

Patricia Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

I am for the dissent. I think the noise and pollution by a private individual on public property is a hideous precedent. Just because a person is licensed to do something doesn't mean he should be able to, especially when it violates city noise ordinance.

JaKenRo 5 years, 11 months ago

SHHHHHHH, your post violates the city's grumpy old man ordinance.

realitycheck5 5 years, 11 months ago

There are a lot of negative people that clearly have no life beyond trolling websites and spreading their gloom, doom, and general ugliness. Thanks to the person that created a fun, family friendly event that is free to all those that chose to participate. Thanks to those who spent hours and personal finances to make this event happen. With this show moving to a new venue, not just a private party, more families from the community can participate.
Those that choose to moan and groan will find something else to moan and groan about as soon as this topic gets stale because that is the nature of their cheery dispositions :)

Terry Sexton 5 years, 11 months ago

I used to be able to see it from my house but not this year. It sounds like it was as awesome as ever.

Alexander Smith 5 years, 11 months ago

way to go! Wish I could be there to see the fun. I don't know why we can't shoot fireworks in the city. So what if it gets noisy and pretty in the sky for a few hours ONE day of the year.

LJWorld should post video or pictures of the event the next day for those people that could not go out enjoy the celebration. That would be cool! (hint).

GR Gordon-Ross 5 years, 11 months ago

Don't be hard on the LJWorld, they didn't have pictures or video because they didn't know about it until after it happened either. So, they didn't have pictures or video to share. But we're happy to share the video we made. I hope you enjoy it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.