Archive for Thursday, July 8, 2004

Happy 228th, America

Basehor sky filled with red, white and boom, as residents gather to celebrate Independence Day

July 8, 2004

Nearly three and a half hours after the 26 entries in the Fourth of July parade rolled down 155th Street, the crowd at Basehor-Linwood High School roared in approval following a festive fireworks display that capped off the city's celebration.

This year's celebration, "West With Lewis and Clark," featured a parade, musical entertainment courtesy of the Gospel Trailbalzers, and a drill team dunk tank. Those in attendance also had an opportunity to chow down on concessions from the VFW trailer at the high school.

The event was particularly exciting for 7-year-old Monica Brich, who won a ribbon for participating in the parade by driving a small, blue motorized car that her grandfather built decades ago.

"I liked the parade," Monica said. "Because I got to see my friends while driving the float.'

Although there were crowds present for the duration of the event, the main draw was obviously the pyrotechnics display. The high school parking lot got fuller as the evening wore on.

BLHS student Hanna Brown got the crowd primed and pumped up for the display after singing the national anthem at 9 p.m. and then Danny Dearinger and his team went to work setting off the fireworks.

"He has done this every year and he is just a jewel," PRIDE chairman George Smith said. "I don't know what we would do if we didn't have him."

For about 45 minutes, Dearinger, John Matthews, Mike McDowell and Mike Fowler could be seen silhouetted by the glow of their red torches behind the football's end zone. The display, following more than 30 minutes of aerial explosions, was capped off by a series of blazing ground displays. A figure shooting an arrow at a bull's-eye, an American flag, the Statue of Liberty and the letters "USA" were all illuminated in a fiery display in front of the opposite set of bleachers at the stadium and caught the attention of the crowd.

"The fireworks were all sweet," said 7-year-old Trey Clark. "I liked when they shot them all off (at the end)."

While the crowd seemed to agree that display was worth the trip to the high school, not all of those in attendance managed to agree that the finale was the highlight. Others enjoyed the aerial display.

"It was cool," said 7-year-old Chase Ryder. "When you are lying down they looked like they were all down on you."

The following entries took home prizes following the parade:

  • Best Theme: First Place -- Gold PRIDE; Second Place -- Wilderson family.
  • Best Float: First Place -- Gold PRIDE; Second Place -- Wilderson family; Third Place -- Jon Gallion for County Commission.
  • Cars- First Place- Jamie McKinley's '32 Ford Model B, Second Place- Lewis B. Thompson's '32 Ford Roadster, Third Place- Harold and Donna Bittel's '55 Chevy convertible,
  • Walking: First Place- Aaron and Annette Williams' patriotic scooters, Second Place- Ken Rahjes for county commissioner,
  • Motorized- First Place- Monica Brich's little blue car,
  • Misc.- First Place- Doug Payne's Courtyard Cafe Softball Team.

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