It will be a red, white and “blue-atiful” celebration tonight on the Missouri State Fairgrounds as the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce hosts their third annual fireworks display and family celebration to honor America and the Fourth of July.
Angie Thomas, executive director of the Chamber said event organizers have been hard at work putting together an evening filled with events for both Sedalia residents and those from surrounding communities who come to attend the free festivities and fireworks show.
“We’re really hoping that people will come out tonight and spend their evening with us on the Fairgrounds,” Thomas said Thursday afternoon by phone. “We really have a lot of activities planned and the highlight will be the fireworks which will begin about an hour after dark.
We have Dirt Road Addiction back again this year to perform and we’re really excited to have them back as well, ” she added. “Last year we had people up out of their seats dancing and we’re hoping to see more of that this year too.”
Thomas said that in previous years the Blue Ribbon Vision Committee which was an offshoot of the Chamber had planned the event but three years ago they asked the Chamber to present the show which they are happy to do.
“This is an event for us that is similar to the Christmas Parade,” Thomas said. “It’s not a fundraiser for us but is something that we like to do because it benefits the community and gives them the opportunity to come together and celebrate.
“It’s really hard to say how many people attend the event each year because it’s rather spread out,” she added. A lot of people do watch the show from the Grandstands, but we have many other families who pack a picnic basket and spread out their blankets at different locations on the Fairgrounds or who watch from their cars.”
No matter where the viewers watch from they are in store for a spectacular display of fireworks according to Jim Oetkem, owner of J and M Displays who will be presenting this years show.
“It’s really about a five-to-six month process to put together a show like the one we will be doing in Sedalia,” Oetkem said. “We’ll be firing over 775 shots during the electronically produced show.
“Three to four technicians will be on hand early Monday morning to set up the display which usually takes about 12 hours to set,” he added. “It is a customized show and it won’t be the same show as last year’s because we are always adding to the shows each year.”
Oetkem, whose family has been in the fireworks business for over 36 years said that his company does about 600 shows from coast to coast during the week of July Fourth alone.
“Even if families came out to the show last year we promise they haven’t seen this show,” Oetkem said. “The show at the Fairgrounds is one of the largest that we do in the state and is expected to last about an hour.”
Thomas said that while there have been corporate sponsors for this years event, including Tyson’s, The City of Sedalia, Starline, The Sedalia Rotary Club and Guessa USA, who is sponsoring Dirt Road Addiction, event organizers have decided to take up a free-will donation at the event this year to hopefully offset the cost of the fireworks.
“We hoping that as people come to the show they will help by making a donation as they come to the event,” Thomas said. “It really does take quite a lot to put on a show like this and we’re hoping people may make a donation so we can continue to do this in future years.”
Thomas added that David’s Hot Dogs and More would be open on Fairgrounds for those who wanted to purchase something to eat while they enjoy the evening if they didn’t want to pack a picnic basket or grill themselves.
“Tonight will be a great opportunity for people to either travel from surrounding communities or to stay right home in Sedalia and have a great time at the Fairgrounds during the celebration,” Thomas said. “Dirt Road Addiction will take the stage at 7 p.m. and the fireworks will start about an hour after dark.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing a lot of people come out and have a great time at the show.”
A rain date of July 5th has been set if the show is canceled due to inclement weather.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.