Prepping for Independence Day

Nolan Smith of Hale Fireworks, on East U.S. Highway 50, lights a Sky Lantern on Monday to demonstrate the proper handling of the firework. According to the manufacturer of the lanterns, Khoom fay, or sky lanterns, are an old Chinese tradition and were first invented during “The Three Kingdom Period.” They were first used by the locals to let each other know when armies were approaching. Smith said the lanterns were his favorite item the business has sold in recent years.

A sky lantern floats into the distance sky late Monday evening. The Sky Lanterns have become very popular after the movie “Tangled” was released in 2010. The lanterns now are frequently used at weddings, festivals and birthday parties. People often write personal messages on the lanterns as a way to express their wishes for the event.

Chase Gemes, left, looks at his mother with pleading eyes before he asked about his selection at Hale Fireworks Monday evening. His older brother Hunter adds words of encouragement for his brother. It was the family’s first visit to purchase fireworks this year, but their mother, Candy Gemes, said they would probably return to purchase more fireworks before Saturday.

Chase Gemes, left, looks at the items in his family’s basket, while older brother London makes his selections. The brothers said they were planning on shooting off many of the fireworks when they returned home later that night. Discharging fireworks within Sedalia city limits is prohibited by law, but residents who live in the county may use them on private property.

Quinesha Selvey, left, and Hallye Lane look at the selection of bottle rockets before deciding which fireworks to buy. The girls were there with three other friends and said they had already purchased some fireworks this season.

London Gemes holds onto his basket of fireworks as he makes one final inspection of the items available for sale at the Hale Fireworks tent Monday evening. The family lives outside the city limits and London and his brothers were eager to go home and begin to shoot off their purchases.

Brittany Hall, left, gets ready to leave with her purchase of fireworks Monday night as her friend, Brittany Rasa, waits. “I’ve already bought some items once this year,” Hall said. “I’ll probably come back two or three more times before the Fourth.” According to Nolan Smith, an employee for Hale Fireworks, young children typically spend between $10 to $15 per purchase. “When a family comes in they will spend about $100,” Smith said. “A lot of times we have families who go together and purchase a larger quantity for the entire neighborhood.”

Fireworks stands are popping up all over Pettis County, but the Sedalia Fire Department reminds citizens that fireworks are illegal within Sedalia city limits.

SFD Deputy Chief Greg Harrell said it is a “fire safety issue” when it comes to lighting fireworks in city limits. For those local citizens who will be making a trip outside the city for their Independence Day celebrations, he said the best advice is to use common sense.

“Common sense comes into play when you watch the TV news where people get injured with fireworks — it usually has to do with not using them properly, doing something fireworks are not designed to do and then they get hurt,” he said. “Like everything else, they’re relatively safe if you use them according to the instructions. The key … is just use them according to the directions.”

Harrell did caution those who head to the rural areas in Pettis County for their fireworks fun, reminding citizens someone owns that land.

“A lot of people in town go out on county roads and use fireworks. It always amazed me some people have no concerns about shooting bottle rockets near livestock or fields — that property belongs to someone,” he said. “Every kid loves lighting fireworks. We just ask that parents provide some guidance: property does belong to people and it’s illegal in town. If something happens, you’re liable.”

The American Pyrotechnics Association recommends following these guidelines when using fireworks:

• Always read and follow the directions on the label.

• Always have an adult present when handling fireworks.

• Use fireworks outdoors in a safe, non-wooden area.

• Having a working garden hose or bucket of water handy.

• Light only one firework at a time.

• Never re-ignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time or one that has finished its display.

• Don’t throw fireworks at another person.

• Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks.

• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

• Keep spectators at a safe distance.

While Harrell does encourage being safe with fireworks, he said he doesn’t expect to have as many calls this weekend as in years past thanks to the large amount of recent rainfall.

“One of the best things that has happened this year is it’s wet enough, we won’t see fires like in the past,” he said. “Everything is green and lush so I don’t know that we’ll see problems. One of the problems every year is we always seem to get a call for a fire in a tree — you see a tree green as can be, but an old tree that’s dead inside and hollow. People are shooting something near it and it’s smoldering.”

Common sense should also be used while grilling in the backyard. Harrell said to be aware of how you light, use and put out flames on a grill.

“It’s basic common sense items that people tend to use, and the ones that don’t become customers of ours,” he added.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) during the holiday, meaning every available officer will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists.

Additionally, Troop A officers will be conducting a 20-Mile Trooper project to maximize visibility on Interstates 70, 49, and 470, and U.S. Highway 50 in the Troop A area Thursday and Sunday. During this enforcement program, troopers will be assigned to 20-mile intervals in an effort to enforce all traffic violations, and emphasizing aggressive driving violations, with a goal of reducing traffic crashes over the holiday weekend.

MSHP encourages citizens to wear a seat belt or life jacket while enjoying the holiday weekend, and use designated drivers when alcohol is involved.

For those who are looking for more than a backyard display for the Fourth of July, many area cities are hosting activities.

California, Mo.

The California, Mo., Masonic Lodge No. 183 will present the “America, Hope of the Future” Fourth of July parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The line-up will begin at 9 a.m. on Smith Street, near Cargill. The parade will end at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. There is no entry fee. For more information, contact G.R. Shelley at 573-690-9719.


Sedalia’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Wally Walters, retired Korean War veteran and former Sedalia City Councilman, will serve as Grand Marshal for the parade.

The line up will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Sixth Street and Ohio Avenue and will travel down Main Street. The parade will end on Osage Avenue. The is no entry fee to participate. Individuals may pre-register by calling 660-826-5000 ext. 922. Registration is not necessary. Horses will not be permitted in the parade.

After the parade, individuals are invited to a picnic at Centennial Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hot dogs, chips and refreshments will be provided.

Later in the evening, the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Fourth of July Community Celebration on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

The Pepsi Grandstand will open at 6 p.m. with plenty of activities including kid’s bowling, Fourth of July kid’s tattoos, sandy candy, popsicles, a bounce house and more. The rest of the evening’s schedule is as follows:

6:30 p.m.: Daughters of the American Revolution read the Declaration of Independence.

7 to 9 p.m.: Local band Dirt Road Addiction performs.

9:15 p.m.: VFW Post 2591 presents the colors.

9:25 p.m.: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Tucek performs the national anthem.

9:30 p.m.: Fireworks begin.

For more information, call the Chamber at 660-826-2222.


The Friends of the Maclay Home in Tipton will sponsor its 33rd annual Ice Cream Social and Home Tours on July Fourth. Sandwiches, homemade cakes and ice cream will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Food Stand. The Country Store and musical entertainment will be on the grounds.

Tours of the historic home will take place from noon to 2 p.m. The Maclay Home has 17 rooms of original furnishings. It was built as a girls’ seminary, but used as Union headquarters throughout the Civil War. Veterans will tour free on July Fourth.


Warrensburg Main Street and Warrensburg Park and Recreation will present the annual Fourth of July Patriotic Children’s Parade on Saturday on the Johnson County Courthouse Lawn.

Parade participants are encouraged to decorate their wagons, trikes, bikes or even themselves to take part in the parade. Special prizes, a bounce house, games, face painting, an ice cream truck and more will be available before and after the parade. Registration and pre-parade fun starts at the downtown courthouse at 9:30 a.m. and the parade will begin at 10 a.m.

The parade is free to the public and there are no registration fees. For more information on the parade and registration, contact Warrensburg Main Street Inc. at 660-429-3988 or Warrensburg Park and Recreation at 660-747-7178.


The Windsor Area Chamber of Commerce presents an Independence Day Celebration Saturday at Farrington Park.

8:45 a.m.: Boy Scouts opening ceremony

9 a.m.: Most activities begin, vendor/food booths open

2 p.m.: Cardboard Regatta registration

3 p.m.: Cardboard Regatta begins. DJ music provided by Audio Pix Mobile

5 p.m.: Backseat Driver registration

5:30 p.m.: Backseat Driver contest

6 p.m.: Music performed by Crystal and Matt Fosnow

6:30 p.m.: Music performed by Zing

Dusk: Fireworks display

Games Schedule

9 a.m.: Turtle race

9:30 a.m.: Frog race

10 a.m.: Egg race

10:30 a.m.: Sack race

11 a.m.: Soft egg toss

11:30 a.m.: Water balloon toss

Noon: Softball toss

Food will be available all day, including bottled water, soft drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, sno cones, kettle corn, ice cream and more.

Sedalia Democrat
comments powered by Disqus