Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fireworks show returns

June 29, 2006

When dusk settles Tuesday evening, Eudora will literally become a boomtown.

Bloom by fiery bloom, fireworks provided by the Eudora Parks and Recreation Department and its director Bobby Arnold ---- with the help of Jim Hoover ---- will unleash a pyrotechnic panorama for those gathered in the Eudora Middle School and Eudora High School parking lots.

The event will mark the third year Arnold has organized the yearly event.

"It's pretty much a standard for people to know that we'll be having this," Arnold said. "They plan on it and just make it part of their celebration for the Fourth."

The standard party also comes with standard advice.

"People get here early to get their parking spots and make it an annual activity," Arnold said.

Last year, American flags flew, children ran around with sparklers and music played by Rex Burkhardt filled the middle school parking lot long before the first explosions burst in the air.This year, citizens can expect the same relaxed atmosphere, fueled by the return of Burkhardt's beats, which usually consist of old-time rock and roll and current hits.

With large chunks of the entertainment set, Arnold prepares for what he finds as the biggest challenge in roping everything together.

"It all has to be coordinated and set out in a timely manner so it all gets done," Arnold said.

Among the challenges in preparing the event are setting up the music and sound equipment, setting out rows of American flags and coordinating with the firework show.

Arnold credited Hoover as the creative force behind the choreographed fireworks display.

Classic marches will flow from the sound system to accompany the show.

From Arnold's perspective, the past Fourths have given him some idea on what the hectic Independence Day will offer in terms of last-minute details.

"Not counting office coordination, it takes probably four hours just to get everything set up and tested, and that's not even including the fireworks," he said.

The show itself lasts roughly 45 minutes, Arnold said.

Although the bright sparks will return, the show will be quieter this year.

Earlier in the year, at the request of a concerned citizen, the Eudora City Council agreed to purchase less of a fireworks-type that sets off a thunderous booming noise.

Even with scaled-down booms, the city budgeted a total of $6,500.

"It's the same for next year," Arnold said.

The Fourth of July weekend will encompass more than Tuesday's display.

Beginning this weekend, fireworks tents across the city will open to sell a wide array of personal fireworks for citizens.

The first legal day to set off the fireworks will be Saturday.

Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem said it varies how much extra work patrolling officers will face over the holiday season.

Although the workload for the police varied, Dahlem was quick to offer safety advice when handling fireworks. For instance, never hold fireworks while it's firing.

Shooting fireworks near, in or around a stationary or moving vehicle is illegal, Dahlem said.

"It's state law."

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