Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

City saves Fourth of July

July 6, 2006

Yes, Virginia, there is a Fourth of July.

"Exactly," said Donna Kneedler, president of the Citizens for Baldwin City who saw a disastrous Fourth of July turn into a spectacular after it was announced there wouldn't be a fireworks display this year. "I am amazed how people have rallied together."

Because of a lack of volunteers, and therefore funding, CFBC decided to cancel this year's fireworks show north of Baldwin High School. The public outcry dictated otherwise. The warm and fuzzy feeling was everywhere.

"Oh, it was," said Kneedler. "Everyone just jumped together. People came up and gave me $20, $40. I am overwhelmed. This year's (display) is going to be bigger and better."

And, it was.

Although it was last minute, the town showed up not only in person, but with dollars. The generosity surprised Kneedler. It all started with a story in last week's Signal when she announced the display was canceled this year, but the group hoped it would return next year.

"When the article went in the paper that we weren't going to have it, everyone called the city (City Hall), the chamber (Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce) and me to see what could be done to make it happen," she said.

One of the first calls came from Kevin Bennett of Maple Leaf Tire.

""What can I do to pull this off?' Bennett asked Kneedler. "I said we lack funding, we lack support."

He later called and said he had $500 for the show.

"We're pulling this off," she said. "He got $500 raised. I called Monte Ezell (Baldwin City Recreation Commission director) and he said to come to their meeting. The next day, he brought a check for $3,000. I was floored.

"Everywhere I went in the community they were saying we are so glad we're having it," said Kneedler. "Trent Puckett came by my house with a check for $1,000. The city gave us $500."

The show had to be slightly changed. Because of the late start, a permit from Douglas County couldn't be obtained. However, the group got around that by getting one from the city and shooting the fireworks off from just south of the Baker University soccer field, which is in the city limits. The Baldwin High School soccer field, where the show ordinarily has originated from, is in the county.

It all went well. In fact, the Fourth got off to an early start when three loud claps of thunder went off about 4 a.m. A gentle rain followed, wetting the parched grass and ground all around Baldwin, paving the way for a fabulous and safe Fourth of July.

See "Show goes on" on front page of Web site for an additional story on the fireworks show.

A photo gallery from the Fourth of July will be added to the Web site on Friday.

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