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This Fourth, a closer view of Fire in the Sky

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:05 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

There’s more than the annual listing of entertainment awaiting those who take in the fireworks display tonight from inside Memorial Stadium.

The main display will be fired from just southeast of the Hearnes Center, as they were last year, but this time fireworks will also be set off from inside the stadium.

Schedule

6:30 p.m.: Gates open at Faurot Field 7:00: Norm Ruebling Band 8:00: Hillary Scott 9:00: Missouri Symphony Pops Concert 9:40: Fireworks begin Admission is free

Today's Weather

Better be prepared for a thunderstorm as you make plans for Fourth of July festivities. Thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening as a cold front pushes south across Missouri. The National Weather Service on Tuesday set the chance of rain at 30 percent. “If you know you are going to go out to see the fireworks no matter what, just pray the storms miss you,” said Benjamin Sipprell, forecaster with the Weather Service in St. Louis. “Where they hit is going to be very unpredictable, so that’s about all you can do.” The thunderstorms are expected to develop in the heat of the afternoon and possibly linger into the evening. Temperatures should be comfortable, with an afternoon high of 89, or one degree above normal. The record high in Columbia for Independence Day was set in 1901 at 106 degrees.

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Richard Ash of Premier Pyrotechnics, who is in charge of setting up tonight’s show, said the fireworks set off in the stadium have a much smaller safe zone, meaning that spectators can be close by. Fireworks shot from the main location are much more explosive and require as much as a 280-foot safe zone, while the close-proximity fireworks only require 15 feet.

The highflying fireworks will be viewable from across town, but the best place to be for the event is inside the stadium. Entertainment at the free event includes live music and a performance by Sphyre of Prometheus, a group that performs with fire. Concessions will be available at cost.

“It just gets better every year,” said Karen Ramey, Columbia Parks and Recreation representative for the show.

The fireworks will last 20 minutes and 58 seconds and will be choreographed to music played by the Missouri Symphony. During the finale, Ash said, “You will have four times the shells going off twice as fast as the rest of the show.”

The fireworks — with names such as Silver Coconut and Lemon Wave — are fired from mortar tubes made from high-density polyethylene. The shells, which are fired electronically, range from 4 inches to 8 inches. The

larger shells explode at close to 1,000 feet.

Premier Pyrotechnics, which is based in Richland, has had a crew in Columbia setting up for the show since Friday. Ash has been camping at the site since he arrived.

“Once the product is exposed, we have to have a licensed shooter on site at all times,” he said.

There is a 30 percent chance of rain with a predicted temperature of 87 degrees.


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