Columbia’s annual firework show to move downtown permanently

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | 2:56 p.m. CDT; updated 3:50 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 27, 2012

COLUMBIA — Columbia's annual firework show "Fire in the Sky" will now be held downtown every year, according to Karen Chandler, superintendent for the Parks and Recreation Department.

The decision to move the show from its usual location at Memorial Stadium was made earlier this year due to ongoing construction at the stadium. 

The city has put considerable time and effort into planning this year's event, and the location has been working out well, Chandler said. The event will feature children's activities and concerts in Flat Branch Park, as well as more entertainment in Peace Park.

Chandler said the new location's atmosphere will be a comfortable one, as attendees can sit in the grass with a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the show.

This location also offers more parking for attendees. Parking will be free throughout the district, as well as in any of the garages or lots owned by MU.

Chandler said the move will be nice for merchants in the area, as the event will bring people downtown.

In years past, Shakespeare's Pizza has not been open on the Fourth of July.  However, manager Matt Unverferth said the restaurant will likely re-examine this policy since the show will be downtown. Paul Huesgen, one of the managers of Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, said he expects his establishment to be "prime real estate" during the event. 

Fireworks will be launched from the top of the parking garage at Sixth and Cherry streets. The show will begin around 9 p.m. and will be choreographed to music broadcast on KBXR 102.3.

Supervising editor is Ann Elise Taylor.

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Fritz Otweiler June 28, 2012 | 8:29 a.m.

Trying to figure this one out, from a practical standpoint. Aren't fireworks best viewed when discharged some distance away, on a relatively open plain? Won't there be a "safety zone" extending outward from the firing site, that will include several businesses (i.e., Tiger Hotel bldg and roof, Addison's, Bangkok, Broadway Brewery, Tellers, and Sycamore)? Won't other businesses uniquely benefit from this decision, due to their coincidental distance from the firing site (i.e. Quinton's, Campus Bar & Grill, Harpo's, and Heidelberg)? Won't the ideal viewing site for this firing location actually be Columbia's Memorial cemetery, where trespassing is forbidden and enforced?
Isn't launching fireworks in close proximity to the roofs of so many of Columbia's oldest buildings a needless fire risk?
Won't those people who do not want to squeeze themselves into Flat Branch park be required to spend almost the entire event looking nearly straight up, instead of much more comfortably viewing across?
Wouldn't all these problems be better resolved by holding this event at Stephens Park, where no particular businesses would be benefitted or detrimented, where there is plenty of room for spectators, and a setting that offers greater safety?

(Report Comment)
Fritz Otweiler June 28, 2012 | 8:32 a.m.

Additionally, is there enough time betwen now and the 4th for the City to cut down all the trees in Peace Park, so that those who "gather on blankets" can see this event?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking June 28, 2012 | 8:49 a.m.

The area around Stephens Park is quite a bit more combustible than downtown is, and this is going to be an issue this year. I wouldn't blame them if they delay or cancel the fireworks (and strictly enforce a fireworks ban for private citizens - they could buy them, just not shoot them off until we got some regular rain) to avoid large scale grass fires. We don't need to be using our water to put out fires that didn't need to happen.


(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders June 28, 2012 | 2:40 p.m.

Methinks this is a backdoor way of saying, "We really can't afford to do big displays anymore."

My guess is that the folks out at Midway will put on a better show.

(Report Comment)

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