After a year of COVID-19 cancellations, the city will resume its annual Independence Day fireworks show this year at Case Community Park.
City parks officials said this year’s show, on Saturday, July 3, will be 50% larger than in previous years, with more aerial shells than before.
“The fireworks show typically brings 5,000 to 7,500 individuals to the park, with more onlookers amid the surrounding businesses,” Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Edwards said. “This event is one of the most-well-attended events, aside from the Herbal Affair festival held each spring.”
The fireworks are slated to blast off at 9:15 p.m., with entertainment and food sales getting started earlier in the day.
Edwards said the fireworks will last 20 minutes, with 870 total shell breaks. The city will pay Rainbow Fireworks, based in Inman, Kansas, about $15,000 to put on the show, he said.
Unlike in past years, he said, the blasting and viewing zone this year will be centered at the soccer fields, with more viewing areas near the splash pad and great lawn.
“As most people have traditionally gathered near the softball outfield fence, they will want to now gather in the soccer playing fields area for the same intimate view,” he said.
Edwards added that a safety perimeter will be set up on the soccer fields with staff members working in that area to ensure a safe distance between spectators and the blasting zone.
“Guests will be allowed on the soccer fields for viewing, though,” he said.
The festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. with live entertainment, and The Salvation Army will be the event’s food vendor.
“This is their annual fundraiser,” Edwards said. “They typically serve hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, snow cones” and such.
Edwards said guests are welcome to bring outside food and drinks, although alcohol is not permitted.
“There are several areas within the park to enjoy a nice, shaded picnic and family outing prior to the fireworks,” he said.
For guests looking for a little more activity between the food and the fireworks, all sports venues at Case Community Park will be open.
Edwards said any sports being played when the fireworks begin will be paused, but otherwise, “every amenity in the park will be open and accessible.”
There’s one thing park visitors won’t be able to do: shoot off their own fireworks.
“Private fireworks cannot be discharged in Case Park,” city Fire Marshal Mike Nobles said. “Private individuals may only discharge fireworks at their residence listed on the mandatory residential fireworks permit.”
As for getting close to the action, Edwards said spectators don’t have to worry about parking close or hauling their gear a long way because Parks and Recreation Department personnel will be providing a shuttle service throughout the event.
Shuttle pickup stops will be located all across the park, and all shuttles will deposit guests near the soccer fields, he said.
Edwards said shuttle service will pause for half an hour during and immediately after the fireworks show for the safety of park guests.
“Our mission is to always serve the public with quality facilities and great recreational opportunities,” he said. “We are really excited for the return of this event following a pandemic year.”