Plans set for 'Fire in the Sky' Fourth of July celebration

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 | 6:03 p.m. CDT; updated 9:00 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 6, 2012

COLUMBIA — Plans for the 60th annual Fourth of July "Fire in the Sky" celebration have been finalized by the Parks and Recreation Department.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Columbia, with fireworks following the evening's entertainment shortly after 9 p.m., according to a news release from the department.

Flat Branch Park and MU's Peace Park will be the main locations for pre-firework entertainment.

Memorial Stadium, the location that traditionally holds the event, is currently under renovation.

Karen Chandler, the superintendent of recreation and community programs with Columbia’s Parks and Recreation, said she thinks these two parks in downtown Columbia are good alternative locations for the event.

“They are great event spaces, and they are close to the Sixth and Cherry parking garage, where the fireworks will be shot off,” Chandler said.

Flat Branch will hold several children’s activities, including obstacle courses, "Pop-a-Shot" arcade games and Fourth of July-themed crafts. Also, bands Lot 56 and Table for Five will perform.

Peace Park will host performances by Ironweed Bluegrass Band and the Norm Ruebling Band.

With the change in venue, the firework shells used for the show will be restricted to 2 inches because of a smaller safety zone. The firework shells ranged from 6 to 8 inches at previous "Fire in the Sky" shows.

"They may be smaller, but there will be more of them within the same time span," Chandler said. She said the barrage of fireworks will be more constant than in previous years. 

Chandler said the Police Department is working on a traffic plan for the event. She said downtown has an advantage in traffic diversion compared to other available locations. 

“There are many ways to get in and out of downtown and a lot of parking places,” she said.

The restaurants and bars in the downtown area also provide additional entertainment attractions, Chandler said.

"Fire in the Sky" is free and concessions will be available. As is customary, the fireworks will be choreographed to music. For the first time in a long time, however, Chandler said they'll be broadcast simultaneously on KBXR 102.3.

Parking for the event is free downtown and at MU.  

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