Archive for Thursday, June 30, 2005

De Soto’s primed for holiday show

June 30, 2005

De Soto Fire Chief Kevin Ritter won't be lighting fuses this year, but otherwise, the city's annual July Fourth fireworks display will continue per tradition.

Free views will be available Monday night from the De Soto district stadium, located behind Lexington Trails Middle School, 8800 Penner Ave. Fireworks are expected to begin at dusk, or around 9:30 p.m.

This year, the fireworks display will cap an afternoon of Relay For Life events, including a luminaria ceremony at 8:30 p.m. De Soto's originally scheduled Relay, an American Cancer Society fund-raiser, was postponed in early June because of rain and rescheduled for Monday.

The city of De Soto is sponsoring the fireworks show, which will be carried out by the same company that has done so for a number of years, De Soto City Administrator Greg Johnson said. Ritter stepped down from the job of "shooter," but Wald & Company's All American Display Fireworks will bring in its own help to spark the show, Johnson said.

Wald & Company's assistant display manager, Daryl Marmon, said De Soto's show would include a good mix of fireworks highlighted by a spectacular finale.

"In fact, the finale is almost half the size of the main show," he said. "It's actually a really nice finale."

Marmon said his company, based out of Greenwood, Mo., had been in business 81 years.

When planning a fireworks show, Marmon said the display was a balance of budget and blast-appeal.

For example, if the city spent its fireworks budget on a computerized show, or one choreographed to music, they wouldn't be able to afford as many mortars, Marmon said.

Likewise, if the show included only the biggest, most expensive mortars, the budget would allow only a few.

De Soto's show will include a balance of high- and medium-grade mortars, Marmon said, an effort to get the most bang for the city's buck. Instead of being triggered by a computer, the fireworks will be fired by hand.

Safety takes precedence when it comes time to shoot, Marmon said, and viewers should stay back.

By law, bystanders must remain a certain distance from the firing ground. If anyone comes too close, or within the fallout zone, the show either can't get started or, if it's already in progress, must be stopped, Marmon said.

De Soto residents planning to enjoy fireworks this holiday would be best served to watch from the ground. Johnson said fireworks are prohibited in the city.

In fact, excepting permitted public displays, fireworks may not be sold or used anywhere in Johnson County, according to county regulations.

Johnson said he, for one, planned to attend De Soto's display.

"I think it's going to be a good show," the city administrator said. "I've been going the past couple years, and it seems to have a fairly good crowd."

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