Backyard Fourth of July celebration [Slideshow]

A group of neighborhood kids and their families from mid-Missouri gathered for a backyard celebration in Prathersville on the Fourth of July.

Sights and sounds at Fourth of July Fire in the Sky [Slideshow]

Despite brief rain delays, families from around mid-Missouri gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July at Columbia's Fire in the Sky event.

Fourth of July fireworks go on despite rain delay [Video]

After days of preparation by organizers, pyrotechnicians and musicians, Columbia’s biggest fireworks display, "Fire in the Sky," was threatened by a summer storm system that dampened the Memorial Stadium crowd and delayed the colorful explosions. In the end, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra packed up its instruments, but its pre-recorded performance of patriotic music played on. After a 10-minute rain delay, damp spectators were treated to the traditional booms and flashes of their annual Independence Day light show.

Last lap crash [Photo]

Kyle Busch (18) crashes with Tony Stewart (14) heading to the finish line in Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch hit the wall and Stewart was able to win the race.

Pension woes [Graphic]

In the past 10 years, the University of Missouri System’s annual rate of return on its retirement fund has fluctuated with the ebb and flow of the stock market and the performance-calculated benchmark index.

Stem cell researcher studies cell culture [Photo]

Toshihiko Ezashi — lead investigator on the stem cell research team of R. Michael Roberts, MU curator's professor of molecular biochemistry in the animal sciences division — examines a cell culture inside the biological safety cabinet. Ezashi said that the team can spend up to 12 hours at a time in their lab.

A-blazing sky [Photo]

Spectators at the 58th annual "Fire in the Sky" celebration watch fireworks over the parking lot at Hearnes Center on Saturday.

Caught in the rain [Photo]

Chicago residents Otto and Kelly Kudrna, center, huddle under their umbrella, along with other couples and families waiting out the rain before the "Fire in the Sky" fireworks display in Columbia on Saturday.

Caught in a jump rope [Photo]

Before the fireworks, a group of girls worked on their jump rope techniques. From left are Terriona Starks, Samantha Lester, Tanett Hopson and Tammie Jackson.

Ashland man plans on climbing another of the Seven Summits [Photo]

Bill Powell, who lives in Ashland, stands at the top of Mt. Elbrus in Russia in 2003. The mountain is part of the seven summits, which are the highest mountains on each continent, and is the second one Powell has climbed. Powell plans to climb his third, Mt. Kilimanjaro, on Aug. 2 and says he will try to climb as many of the seven as he can.

Unwinding the cable for 'Fire in the Sky' [Photo]

Kayla Roberts, left, unwinds a firing cable away from Premier Pyrotechnic Inc.'s fireworks display for "FIre in the Sky," while Bill Davis prepares another cable on Saturday.

Fireworks computer demonstrated [Photo]

Mark Bookout demonstrates Saturday the computer responsible for launching the fireworks inside Memorial Stadium.

Pam Huddleston hugs her mother-in-law [Photo]

Pam Huddleston, left, hugs her mother-in-law Dorothy Huddleston during a birthday gathering for Dorothy Huddleston on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. "Today, the birthday girl can get anything," joked the birthday girl, whose family calls her Grandma Huddy.

Dorothy Huddleston at a party for her 84th birthday [Photo]

Dorothy Huddleston, right, adjusts a chair at a celebration for her 84th birthday on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. Four generations of the Huddleston family attended the celebration.

B.J. Powers cooks burgers on the Fourth [Photo]

B.J. Powers cooks burgers at a celebration for Dorothy Huddleston's birthday on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park.

Zach Huddleston blows out birthday candles [Photo]

Zach Huddleston blows out the candles on his grandmother Dorothy Huddleston's birthday cake on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. Each year, the family gathers to celebrate her birthday as well as Independence Day.

Coffee and Games and More Meetup group [Photo]

Members of Coffee and Games and More, a Meetup group, share a laugh as they try out the board game Rummikub for the first time June 27 at It's a Grind coffee shop. From left are Christine Goyette, Pamela You, Colleen Brown, Kate Brown and Greg Leonard. The group has been meeting and playing games since November. "We always laugh so much, we always have fun," Leonard said.

Dog and owner at Ashland Independence Day parade [Photo]

Bryn the dog glances over her shoulder as her owner, Paul Beuselinck drives their float back to the start point of the Ashland Independence Day parade today.

Close-up at Ashland Independence Day parade [Photo]

Surrounded by the flurry of activity during the Ashland Independence Day parade, Bryn the dog sports a patriotic ribbon, samples the occasional Tootsie Roll and sniffs everything in sight.

Ashland Independence Day parade pases by [Photo]

Paul Beuselinck waves at residents of the Ashland Healthcare nursing home facility as the Ashland Independence Day parade passes by today.