Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fabulous Fourth of July

Hundreds flocked to the Baldwin City Municipal Pool Friday for the free swim, hot dogs and a chance to cool off on the Fourth of July.

Hundreds flocked to the Baldwin City Municipal Pool Friday for the free swim, hot dogs and a chance to cool off on the Fourth of July.

July 10, 2008

Baldwin City rang in Independence Day in its usual manner.

Fireworks and fun helped the town celebrate the Fourth of July. Also involved were free swimming and hot dogs.

The Baldwin City Recreation Commission and the community fireworks group partnered together for the holiday events. Representatives from both were pleased with the all-day celebration.

"I thought it was a great day," said Susan England, committee chair for the fireworks. "We couldn't have done this without the recreation commission. They were so helpful with everything."

Steve Friend, BCRC director, was out of town for the celebration. However, when he returned he heard great things from his staff Monday.

"They told me we were very busy on the Fourth," Friend said. "We went through about 400 hot dogs in two hours at the pool. We also did about $700 worth of concessions and we were just going to have it open for drinks or candy bars."

Of course, the highlight of the day is the Fourth of July fireworks show held out at the ball fields by Baldwin High School. Spectators started showing up around 7 p.m. to save their seats and enjoy the inflatable playground equipment before the show.

The show began around dusk and the number of spectators at the show impressed England.

"I was amazed when I looked out and saw the number of people in the parking lot," she said. "We've never had that many people watching from the parking lot before. It greatly exceeded what we've had in the past."

The fireworks show lasted for nearly 45 minutes as colorful aerials lit up the night sky above Baldwin City. Dawn Grammer, a BCRC employee who helped run the concession stand at the show, enjoyed the annual fireworks display.

"It was really nice," Grammer said. "It was nice to have the music, too. It was a cool show."

England was also pleased with it, especially since she knows how much work the crew put into the show.

"It was a great show," she said. "I know all of the guys worked really hard to make the event as great as it was. It was a lot better show than we've had in the past. We got to preview some of the fireworks this year which helped us choose the best possible ones."

Before the show, the community group still needed help with donations to fund the display. After more donations came Friday night at the show, England said the group almost has enough to fund the display.

"We did get a lot of donations that night and we've almost broken even this year," England said. "We thought it might be like this, because of the economy. We would still gladly accept donations if anyone would like to donate to our fund."

The annual Fourth of July celebration isn't all about fireworks though. There is also free swimming and hot dogs involved every year. The Baldwin City Municipal Pool was open from noon to 4 p.m. Friday.

Several hundred visitors attended the free swim and enjoyed the hot dogs. In fact, the free food went much faster than expected.

"We went through the hot dogs so fast, that we'll have to plan for more next year," Grammer said. "I cooked them as fast as I could and they were gone as fast as they could be. We went through 200 hot dogs per hour.

"Everybody had a great time," she said. "There were no incidences and no one got injured. We did have some people that didn't know we closed at four, because they either don't get the paper or they haven't seen our signs."

One setback on Friday was the electrical outage that occurred for a few hours during the afternoon and evening. It caused a slight problem at the concession stand, but not enough to stop everyone from having a good time.

"The disappointing thing is that the electricity was off until 7:30," Grammer said. "That was big, because I could cook 10 hot dogs or hamburgers, but I had no way to keep them warm or warm up the nacho cheese. It pushed us back a little bit, but the rest of the night went off without a hitch."

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