Plenty of fun offered on Fourth

Thursday, June 29, 2006

SIKESTON -- Several fireworks shows are planned in the surrounding communities to commemorate America's independence, some part of a bigger festival, giving people plenty of opportunities to keep busy.

The Sikeston Elks will again sponsor a show at the north end of the Sports Complex.

"Fireworks will start when it's dark enough -- typically 9 or 9:15," said Mike Gadberry, fireworks director. He is being assisted by Phil Chartrau, who will be the director next year.

The 30- to 45-minute show will feature shells from 2 to 12 inches.

Monetary donations for the show are going well, but still fall below the price tag for the show. "They're still being taken and are preferred by the fourth," Gadberry said, adding that anyone interested in making a donation should contact Gary Howard or send them to the Sikeston Elks Lodge Fire Works Committee, P.O. Box 931, Sikeston, MO 63801.

Gadberry asked spectators to cooperate with state and fire department regulations and stay 1,000 feet from the blast area.

"We would also appreciate if they would leave their fireworks at home and not shoot them off," Gadberry added.

City ordinances actually make it illegal to set off fireworks inside the city limits, said Captain John Martin of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety. Only sparklers and snakes are allowed.

The holiday calls for town festivals in Portageville, New Madrid, East Prairie and Oran.

The Portageville Funfest in Meatte Park will feature pageants and a Chamber Choo-Choo, where children ride in carts around the park free of charge. "They go around the walk track in the park," said April Hammack, assistant city collector.

A fireworks show is scheduled for 9 p.m. at the city park, Hammack added. Additionally, fireworks are allowed to be shot in the city limits from July 2 through 5, but there is a 10 p.m. curfew.

In New Madrid, the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the annual celebration on the levee. Beginning at 7 p.m., there will be live local entertainment at Riverfront Park in the new amphitheater. The evening will conclude with a fireworks display scheduled for 9 p.m.

The selling, display and shooting of fireworks is all prohibited in the New Madrid city limits. "Except for the formal show by a civic organization," said Marian Bock, city clerk. Organizations like the Chamber have the OK to put on a display if the City Council approves a request.

July 4 wraps up East Prairie's Sweet Corn Festival. "Everybody comes home for this -- they're off for the weekend and coming home to see family and friends," said Amy Sutton, a member of the Chamber of Commerce. "You get to hang around the barbecue and have a relaxing day."

Following last week's kickoff, this weekend's festivities will begin Thursday. Tuesday's events include a downtown parade at 10 a.m., a twirling performance and a classic car show at the swimming pool park. There will be a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. in the football field. "Come out and have a great time," Sutton said.

East Prairie also has a city ordinance for fireworks. They may only be shot off before 10 p.m. through July 4.

In Oran, the town will celebrate its 95th picnic, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. A family and buffet-style dinner will be served, and free attractions include musical entertainment, a box turtle race and kiddie tractor pull. Western wagon rides, a horseshoe tournament, bingo, games and dancing are also scheduled, with a fireworks display set for 10 p.m.

Elsewhere in Oran, fireworks are allowed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the fourth, except for July 3, when they may be shot until midnight, said Melissa Pobst, city clerk.

In Charleston, fireworks are scheduled to be shot off at dark in the A.D. Simpson Park. Those are the only blasts that will be in the city limits, as individual fireworks are not allowed at all, said Stefanie Self, city treasurer.

The City of Dexter will sponsor a 20 to 30 minute show in the east city park, which is set to begin between 9 and 9:30 p.m.

Residents will be able to enjoy their own fireworks, too.

"They can shoot them on the Fourth -- any type of fireworks," said City Clerk Crystal Bishop. "But it's only allowed on the Fourth."

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