Archive for Friday, May 31, 2013

25 years ago: Plans for ‘Independence Days’ include fireworks, canoe races, gunfight shows

May 31, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 31, 1988:

Preparations were up and running for Lawrence's annual "Independence Days" celebration. Posters and tickets were ready for distribution for the sixth annual Fourth of July event, which would be celebrated July 2-4 in Burcham Park on the southern banks of the Kansas River. The party had brought close to 25,000 people to the site in the previous year, but coordinator Judy Wright said that she hoped for even bigger crowds this year. "I think we're looking at 30,000 people, easily," Wright said, pointing out that last year's festival had been plagued by heavy thunderstorms. The schedule for the event included gunfight shows at the Lawrence Gunfighters Association "Frontier Town," a Civil War camp, and more than 40 churches and organizations re-enacting the "Great Revival of Lawrence," which had been attended by more than 6,000 in 1872. For children, the festival was offering activities such as a petting zoo, face painting, and a sandcastle-building contest. Musical guest Chet Atkins was scheduled to give a concert on July 2, with local bands on the stage throughout the weekend. Other events included the annual Free State Run, the first-ever River City Catfish Cook-Off, and a canoe race on the Kansas River from Lecompton to Burcham Park. All of the fun was to culminate in the annual fireworks show at dusk on the Fourth.

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