As area communities prepare to celebrate Independence Day, Lawrence is planning similar festivities to those in recent years — but with larger fireworks.
Lawrence’s fireworks show is scheduled to start about 9:45 p.m., depending on cloud cover and other weather conditions, said Rick Bellinger, a past member of the Lawrence Jaycees who is in charge of setting off the fireworks. Fireworks will be shot from the Kansas River levee and should be easily visible from Watson and Burcham parks, Bellinger said.
He expects the show to last about 30 minutes.
“The shells will be bigger this year than they have been in years past,” he said.
This year, fireworks organizers decided to abandon the smaller three-inch shells, which often didn’t climb high enough for people in Watson Park to see them, in favor of four- and five-inch shells, Bellinger said.
Matt Llewellyn, owner of 23rd Street Brewery, said the Lawrence Originals Restaurants are sponsoring the show along with the Lawrence Jaycees, and the restaurants will host activities in Watson Park earlier in the day.
Live music will begin about 3 p.m., with food vendors setting up before then, Llewellyn said. Beer will be available, and several children’s activities are planned, including a dunk tank and face painting.
“We’re kind of expecting this year to be the biggest ever because of the Fourth being on a Wednesday,” Llewellyn said. “People won’t necessarily be out of town yet.”
Shooting off most kinds of fireworks is illegal inside the Lawrence city limits. A few novelty items, including sparklers and party poppers, are permitted inside the city.
But in unincorporated Douglas County, fireworks can legally be set off on private property from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1 and 2, and from 7 a.m. to midnight July 3 and 4, though bottle rockets are banned throughout the county. Fireworks may be sold in the unincorporated parts of the county July 1-4.
Other area cities also plan fireworks displays on July 4, including:
After a two-year absence, Baldwin City is planning a fireworks display that will begin about 9:30 p.m. or 9:45 p.m. The fireworks will be set off from the hill west of the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, 100 Bullpup Drive.
Fireworks will begin about 9:30 p.m. at Eudora Middle School, 2635 W. Church St. Gary Scott, director of parks and recreation, said residents should have the best view of the fireworks from the middle school’s parking lot.
Food vendors will set up at Riverfest Park, 33639 W. 79th St., starting about 7 p.m. The band “Prairie Wine” is also scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., with fireworks beginning at 9:45 p.m.
Residents can watch fireworks from the bleachers at the Stan Braksick Sports Complex on Bulldog Boulevard. The show is scheduled to begin about 9:45 p.m.
A fireworks show is scheduled to begin at dusk at Forest Park, 600 N. Locust St.