Washington gridlock has begun to encroach even on innocent summer fun in the park.
Tonight's Lawrence City Band final summer concert will, for the first time in a generation, not include a cannon shooting during the performance of the "1812 Overture," which is traditionally one of the event's closing numbers. The Kansas National Guard has provided and fired the cannons in previous years but stopped such ceremonial activities due to sequestration cuts imposed by Congress. The band's fireworks will go on as planned.
The City Band started the cannon tradition in the late 1980s. For about a decade before that, local volunteers shot 12-gauge shotguns filled with black-powder blanks into tilted barrels. That had replaced the tradition of simulating cannon fire with a bass drum.
Band members may have found a solution for the coming years, if the military cannons remain unavailable: A local Civil War reenactor has volunteered his club's services for the 2014 City Band finale.
Tonight's concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. at South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. The event is free and open to the public.