Archive for Thursday, July 3, 2003

Fuse lit on fireworks stand opening

Plans finalized for Basehor Fourth of July celebration

July 3, 2003

If it's something loud or colorful Basehor residents are looking for on the Fourth of July, they needn't travel far to find it.

The Basehor PRIDE fireworks stand -- the only stand available to purchase fireworks in the city -- opened this week and will stay open through Saturday, July 5, PRIDE chairman Chuck Wilderson said.

And what's available at the stand located just north of the Basehor Town Square on 155th Street?

"Everything that's legal," Wilderson said.

The stand opened with some business Monday afternoon but Wilderson said sales at the stand will pick up as the Fourth draws near.

"It's always slow on the first day," he said. "But it'll pick up as we get closer to Friday."

The PRIDE fireworks stand is completely volunteer operated. When the stand closes at night, volunteers pitch a tent to safeguard the fireworks, PRIDE members said.

The fireworks stand also serves as the chief fund-raiser of the year for several local organizations including Basehor PRIDE, Gold PRIDE and the Kiwanis Club.

"It's the major way we raise funds for the other organizations," Wilderson said.

Basehor PRIDE and Gold PRIDE are doing more than just providing Basehor residents with their Fourth of July fireworks. As always, the groups also are the principal coordinators of the July 4 parade, activities and fireworks display.

The Basehor PRIDE organization will kick off its festivities with a parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. The parade will run along 155th Street from Leavenworth Road to Parallel Parkway.

The theme of this year's parade is Operation Freedom, Wilderson said.

Parade entries should meet at 6 p.m. at the Holy Angels Catholic Church, 15438 Leavenworth Rd., Motorcycles or dirt bikes are not allowed in the parade.

Parade entries best exemplifying the theme will receive a first place prize of $25 and second place price of $15. Parade judges are Cindy Smith and Tom and Heidi Holmes.

Wilbur Grisham has been selected to serve as grand marshal in this year's parade.

PRIDE chose Grisham to spearhead this year's parade because of his long and outstanding background in civil and public service, PRIDE members said.

Grisham is a founding member of the Fairmount Township Fire Department, has served in the military in the Army Medical Corps, and is a past mail carrier and school bus driver.

He is also a life member of Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars organization.

Following the parade, beginning at approximately 7 p.m., games and activities will take place at Basehor-Linwood High School. Activities include a cakewalk, water balloon toss, dunk tank and three-legged race.

The country, blues and rock band Loose Gravel will perform at the high school.

The Basehor Lions Club will raffle a homemade smoker cooker and two aluminum flagpoles, the latter courtesy of Re/Max All-American.

At 8:30 p.m., PRIDE will announce parade winners and the recipient of the 2003 Basehor Citizen of the Year. Last year's winner was Bob Purtee.

At 9 p.m., Debbie Kemler will sing the National Anthem.

The fireworks will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. This year's pyrotechnicians are Danny and Chris Dearinger, John Matthews, Mike "Mad Dog" McDowell, Michael Fowler and Ron Owen.

Wilderson said the display will last approximately 45 minutes and conclude with a grand finale of a Statue of Liberty and American flag.

Following the PRIDE fireworks display, an announcement will be made advertising the Falcon Lakes display (see related story, page 1A), Wilderson said.

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