Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th features fireworks, families

July 5, 2007

From the booms to the bangs and all the sparkles and colors in between, Fourth of July illuminates the skies, brought to life by the magic of fireworks.

The special day has several meanings for people, but it's usually the fireworks that ignite the excitement for a holiday celebrating the country's independence.

Elijah Hill, Leavenworth, looks over the counter picking out fireworks to buy at the Lunatics Fast-Pitch Softball fireworks stand in Lansing in this 2007 photo.

Elijah Hill, Leavenworth, looks over the counter picking out fireworks to buy at the Lunatics Fast-Pitch Softball fireworks stand in Lansing in this 2007 photo.

As one of the owners of Willcott, Moran & Beall Fireworks, Robert Moran knows a thing or two about the explosions that light up the sky.

This year's biggest seller at the three-family-owned stand has been the smoke bombs and refillable artillery shells, Moran said. But he added that there were some new, bigger displays such as "Rip the Sky" or "Neon Crash" that he was pretty excited about as well.

For more than 30 years, the Willcott, Moran & Beall Fireworks stand, which is located in front of the Lansing Bus Barn just north of McIntyre Road, has been providing pyrotechnic fun to the residents of Lansing and Leavenworth.

Moran said during that time, the stand's developed a loyal following and has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

It's become a family tradition, Moran said, to have members of each clan working the stand on the Fourth of July. Moran said his family looked forward to the chance to supply their neighbors with the colors and loud noises that create so much fun for so many people.

Jon Coffelt, Lansing, chose to buy his fireworks from Moran. He said he usually buys a lot of fireworks each year, estimating he spends close to $200.

This year, he purchased items such as roman candles, fountains, smoke bombs and snappers. He also bought some artillery shells, which he said were his favorite because they provided the biggest explosions.

North along Kansas Highway 7, near the parking lot of Rock Creek Wellness Center, is a first-year stand, organized by the local Lunatics fast-pitch softball team.

Kasey Denney, 19, is one of the assistant coaches and has been working at the stand to raise money for the team. She said she's had a lot of fun working at the stand and that it was the biggest fundraiser the team has done.

Early on, the stand sold out of the classic "hen laying the egg" firework. Denney said items like smoke bombs and fountains were also selling pretty fast. She attributed it to the fact that fireworks were something almost everyone, from the young to the old, enjoyed doing.

This is definitely true about the Hill family of Leavenworth. Rebekah, 12, Elijah, 10, and their mother, Rochelle, came out to the stand to prepare for their family's biggest celebration of the year.

"This is their dad's Christmas," Rochelle said about her husband's love of fireworks.

Each year, extended family and friends join the Hills for a big nighttime display organized by Rochelle's husband. One of the big items that the Hills purchased this year was an 800-shot Saturn Missile set.

She said on average, the family spends around $900 in preparation of the display, which for the past 14 years has also turned into a sort of family reunion.


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