Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heat doesn’t squelch Party in the Park

July 4, 2012


Michael Laing and Jules Richardson, of Lawrence, settle in with a portable fan and a game of cards during the Lawrence Originals Party in the Park Wednesday at Watson Park, Seventh and Kentucky streets. Food was available from Lawrence Originals restaurants with music and children’s activities until the evening fireworks display.

Michael Laing and Jules Richardson, of Lawrence, settle in with a portable fan and a game of cards during the Lawrence Originals Party in the Park Wednesday at Watson Park, Seventh and Kentucky streets. Food was available from Lawrence Originals restaurants with music and children’s activities until the evening fireworks display.

It was a hot holiday in Lawrence. But that didn't stop members of the community from celebrating Independence Day at Watson Park.

Among those who didn't let the oppressive heat keep them at home were Carrie Daly and Mike Lawson.

With temperatures reaching the triple digits, the couple decided to bring their daughter, Verona, to Watson Park, Seventh and Kentucky streets, for the Lawrence Originals Party in the Park.

“It was an effort to get out of the house, for sure, but we wanted to stop by,” Lawson said.

Daly is nine and a half months pregnant, but wanted to let Verona, 1, experience the live music and Fourth of July fun.

Verona tottered about on the grass as the couple gazed at the thousands of people coursing through the park: there were people slurping snow cones, munching on local food and sitting on blankets as they tried to find refuge in the shade.

Kami Wisdom found relief from the heat by plunging into a vat of water over and over again. Wisdom was one of several servers from Johnny’s West volunteering for a dunk tank.

“It’s kind of scary at first, but it’s fun,” Wisdom said. “It feels like it’s 5,000 degrees out here, so it feels good; if the little kids aren’t hitting (the target), we go ahead and pull it for them.”

Eighteen locally owned restaurants had booths set up in the park, selling anything from Indian food to burgers to funnel cakes and ice cream.

Jess Smith, of Lawrence, settled on a chili lime corn on the cob from Ten restaurant in the Eldridge hotel.

“I walked around and checked out the food pretty much right away,” Smith said. “I like all of the different businesses that have come out — the booths, vendors and the music.”

For Connie and Dave Bechtold, the best part of Party in the Park was the community atmosphere. Residents of Covington, Ind., the Bechtolds lived in Lawrence 25 years ago and decided to spend their holiday visiting Kansas on a memory trail.

“The town has really changed a lot,” Connie said. “Everyone is so welcoming, even to us out-of-towners.”

The Bechtolds planned to relax on their blanket near a shade tree until the fireworks started, hoping they would be able to see without moving.

Daly and Lawson had a different plan.

“We’re going to walk around for a while, hang out, then try to find more air conditioning,” Lawson said.


Jim Williamson 2 years, 9 months ago

Women are pregant for 40 weeks. There are four weeks in a month.

chansirlong 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, she was two weeks past her due date.

CarrieB 2 years, 9 months ago

I think you got the names wrong for the picture. The gentlemen in the red hat is Michael Laing and the lady with him is Julie Richardson.

Mike Yoder 2 years, 9 months ago

You're right CarrieB. The actual caption is attached to the photograph which you can't see displayed unless you hit the link 'photo' beneath the image. Not sure why that other caption is there. We'll try to correct that. Mike

elliottaw 2 years, 9 months ago

I was disappointed in the lack of things to do at the "party" in the park, it was just a few food vendors and a lot of people sitting around for hours waiting for the fireworks to start, next year I will be sure to take my kids somewhere more entertaining

kufan1146 2 years, 9 months ago

There were bounce houses, dunk tanks, bands, a magician, glow sticks, duck pond, etc... what else could you ask for, really? It was totally free... leave it up to people in Lawrence to complain about a free event and free fireworks.

elliottaw 2 years, 9 months ago

It was no free, the bounce house was but they charges for all the kids games, they were playing polka while we were there, I am sure my grandparents would have been really excited about that but my kids not so much so. And we did not see a magician anywhere, all the food we bought from the vendors (the ones who still had food left at 7pm) was stone cold. And I really wish that Lawrence would spend the money to get someone who knows how to put on a real fireworks show to come up and perform one, because the ones they have had the last two years look like a group of people just shooting them from their yard, they just go off here and there and are not even set to music or anything

kufan1146 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh god forbid you have to spend $20 on your kid at an event, or bring your own things for them to do. FYI, it's not Lawrence that puts on the show, it's paid for by the restaurants. I have no idea but I'm guessing they don't have the $$ to throw down that a whole city does - plus, if the city paid for it, you'd probably be here complaining about them spending our tax dollars on it. Maybe you should chip in for the show? I personally thought it was great and had a blast, can't wait until next year.

elliottaw 2 years, 8 months ago

we spent more than $40 but that doesn't make the event fun and the kids asked to go home because they said it was boring, how many times can you shoot a little duck with a water gun

ds5384 2 years, 9 months ago

Strongly agree, with the sadness of the public fireworks display. I saw videos of many other Kansas towns from last night and Lawrence's was sad in comparison. I lament my choice to go to watson park as well the trees blocked much of the minimal display that there was. I wouldn't exactly call the event "free" either, free is an inherent trait of parks. To say it was free is akin to saying; there was also grass. Amateur hour.

MarcoPogo 2 years, 9 months ago

"they were playing polka while we were there, I am sure my grandparents would have been really excited about that but my kids not so much so."

I guess that LMFAO just wasn't available. Fourth of July parties can be tough to book for to-notch entertainment. Hell, the headliner at the Washington DC festivities was Kool & the Gang. Pleeeeease...

elliottaw 2 years, 8 months ago

But I am sure you could find some local bands that can play a little more "modern" music heck a local band that would have just did covers of oldies would have been better, it was like the fathers day event that was put in that had the band playing folk songs that nobody seemed to enjoy. I just think there are more things that could be done to make the event more entertaining, you can do three-legged races, potato sack races, water ballon catches, ect that do not cost any money but encourge people to do something besides sit in the grass and get covered in chigger bites, I think if they did more of these types of things people would be more inclined to go and spend more time there. I know after 30 minutes my kids were bored and just wanted to come home to run around the yard and play.

Cassie Powell 2 years, 8 months ago

Dunk tank was 5 balls for 3 dollars. Duck pond was 10 tickets for 5 dollars. only thing FREE was the bounce house. EVERYTHING else you had to pay for.

keeb1211 2 years, 9 months ago

It amazes me that some people would complain such a great event. What else is there to do in Lawrence? If there is something better to do then go do that and let the rest of us have our fun. A lot of people gave up their holiday to work in the heat from noon until well past 10 to do their best to provide food and entertainment. The unfortunate truth is that if you throw a party and invite a few thousand people there will surely be a few losers that will upset the entire event didn't cater to them.

elliottaw 2 years, 9 months ago

All I was saying was they should aim higher for next year, I realize that Lawrence is only a small country town and has limited resources but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look to improve an even you are throwing.

kufan1146 2 years, 8 months ago

Exactly. People are so ungrateful. I'm very thankful that I had a fun, FREE event to go to where I got to choose from over a dozen places to eat and listen to music. Many cities aren't so lucky. Thanks to the Lawrence Originals for putting on a good show.

Tony Kisner 2 years, 8 months ago

I propose we sell the town to Disney on the promise they will entertain us.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank you Lawrence Originals. Some people just need to be entertained. Why didn't you bring a ball for your kids, or "gasp" a couple of books. Relaxing is not "doing nothing". I can't believe I hear 7 year olds saying they are bored. I was never bored at 7. There was always a game to play, like tag or red light, green light. And we didn't need our parents to supervise the game either.

DONOLOVER 2 years, 8 months ago

I think the event in the park is a wonderful idea. I don't , however, think it is wonderful that it is monopolized by the Lawrence Originals. You have to pay a high entrance fee to be able to join their "club" so our smaller businesses like BBQ stands and lemonade stands that are also "local" residents with side businesses are not allowed to sell their products at this event. I think the Lawrence Originals are receiving too much authority on what is done, how it's done and who is allowed to do it. Since when should we allow restaurant owners to make city decisions?

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

They do sponsor the fireworks. I suppose if you are willing to throw in some money, you might be able to sell stuff there.

d_prowess 2 years, 8 months ago

Has there ever been talk about moving the fireworks show? I love the way the city and Lawrence Originals have tried to make this an event, but Watson Park is not an ideal location with all of the trees blocking some of the view.
I feel like those vendors could set up anywhere and so moving it out of downtown might make more sense. Perhaps the fairgrounds? Or maybe by the soccer/softball fields on the SW side of the city? I know we love to support downtown, but I feel like they are forcing this event into too small of a space.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

We always walk across the street to Constant Park before the fireworks begin.

hedshrinker 2 years, 8 months ago

I cannot believe all the complaining and snide comments ("Lawrence is just a small country town and has limited resources"), especially by folk who obviously haven't lived here more than a few minutes. Yeah, the Fourth has been celebrated in many ways over time here...the fireworks used to be at the KU stadium and many of us enjoyed camping on Campanile Hill...there were several variations of entertainment at Burcham Park, like Independence Days with lots of historical booths and vendors and several stages with different kinds of music.. unfortunately,.Burcham Park is a bug infested nightmare place to watch the fireworks, IMHO. Things change, not always perfect, but really , it's not the end of the world or even the most important....come on. I totally support the idea of the Lawrence Originals which is celebrating locally owned, non chain restaurants. Yeah, it might not be able to accomodate all the new little food-truck style pop-up vendors. sorry. I just dont get the oh so American illness of having to be expensively entertained every minute, which they call relaxing and it has to be paid for at a high price so then you can spend the next year complaining about how much it cost you. I'm sorry that some people think that sitting and talking and listening to music and eating good food and enjoying walking around and seeing the wonderful variety of folks that LOVE living in Lawrence is PROVINCIAL. get over yourself, you'll be a lot happier wherever you land.

MarcoPogo 2 years, 8 months ago

"I cannot believe all the complaining and snide comments"

While the rest of your post was pretty truthful, the above comment I don't buy for a second.

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