COLUMBIA — Face-painting, popcorn, teddy bears and patriotic hats were in abundance at Memorial Stadium on Saturday as many braved the brewing storm to catch the 58th annual “Fire in the Sky” celebration.
Families waited in lines to play tic-tac-toe, win prizes and get some patriotic decorations for only 50 cents from the Mid-Missouri Ronald McDonald House.
Sidney Magee and Vanessa Brown, both 10, waited patiently to get their faces painted while describing their Fourth of July traditions. “We went to the farmers' market and had a girls' day,” Vanessa said, referring to her mom and herself. “Oh, and I cleaned my room.”
While face painting and tattoos were popular, not all kids wanted to partake in the trend.
“I used to (get face-paint), but I read the Bible, and it said no type of any tattoo,” said 8-year-old Erik Spain.
Many traveled to Columbia for the show, while others were in town for other events.
"The Originals,” a 12-and-under girls softball team from Lee’s Summit, huddled under umbrellas to catch the fireworks. In town for a softball tournament, the team's game was rained out, and some of the girls decided to stop by for the celebration.
Alayna Gabbert, 12, proudly sported KU face paint while her teammates joked about how they forced her to go into the Tiger Team Store at the mall earlier in the day.
Scott McCawley and his family have been coming to the show from Clifton Hill for a few years now. “This is the best fireworks show I’ve ever been to,” McCawley said as he waited for his oldest daughter to finish her face painting. They also barbecued at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and swam at the Activity and Recreation Center for a day of family fun.
Lane Litwiller also traveled to Columbia for the event, driving two hours with his family to see the show for the first time after hearing good things about it.
“We picked a good time,” he said, joking about the rain.
John and Tammy Mays came from Mexico for a little time away from the family.
“We go out of town to get away from everything,” Tammy Mays said, referring to her kids, ages 15, 17 and 21.
Attendees Rk and Chitre Sahaya from Dehli, India, were especially excited about the event.
“We are supporters of independence,” Rk Sahaya said, pointing out that India’s own Independence Day is Aug. 15.
Don Delozier, 68, huddled under the stadium as the rain started, and said he has attended the show for about 20 years. Of the fireworks, he said, “In the past, they’ve been tremendous.”
Melody Bell also lamented the rain on the Fourth while talking about family traditions of barbecues and fireworks. We "just enjoy the day, as long as it’s not freaking raining!”
Many in attendance agreed, however, that the fireworks made up for the bad weather.