Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Basehor PRIDE, city ready to celebrate Independence Day

June 20, 2007

Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia, City Administrator Carl Slaugh and City Council president Terry Thomas will be making a splash at this year's community Independence Day Celebration, Wednesday, July 4.

A donation of just $1 will give residents three chances to hit a target and plunge their favorite city employee into a tank of chilly water at the dunk tank at the July 4 event on the athletic grounds at Basehor-Linwood High School

Basehor PRIDE president Chuck Wilderson said the dunk tank was built and donated for use at the annual event by Basehor resident Jack Brock and was always a hit. Proceeds from the dunk tank, along with other donations collected throughout the night, help pay for the end-of-the-evening fireworks display.

"We do ask for donations to help defray the cost of the fireworks," Wilderson said. "Donations pay for almost a third of the fireworks."

While the celebration is sponsored by Basehor PRIDE, Gold PRIDE and Youth PRIDE, several other community organizations are involved in the festivities in one way or another, from donating cakes for the cakewalk and setting up concession stands to marching in the parade.

The city of Basehor and Basehor Chamber of Commerce, as well as area businesses, also donate funds to help keep the fireworks display tradition alive.

"The school board has always been really good to let us use the facilities," Wilderson said. "It's a big contribution from the school district, too. It's really a community affair because all the organizations are involved."

This year's theme of "Honoring America's Heartland Heroes" surely will be interpreted in many ways through floats in the parade, which will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Those interested in entering a float are asked to arrive around 5:15 p.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church, just east of 155th Street on Leavenworth Road, for registration and preparation.

Floats will be judged on theme during the parade, which will run south down 155th Street to the Basehor-Linwood High School grounds. Cash prizes provided by the Basehor PRIDE groups will be awarded around 8:30 p.m. to first-, second- and third-place winners in the best float and best walking group categories.

Harry and Dee Lewis will be joined by the chamber's 2006 Citizen of the Year award recipient, Mary Ann Mogle, as this year's parade grand marshals. This year's Citizen of the Year also will be in the parade and will be recognized by the chamber at a ceremony about 8:30 p.m.

Wilderson said there would be other highlights of the parade.

"The antique cars are what we're looking forward to this year," he said. "We've contacted the Leavenworth Antique Car Club, and they're going to have several entries."

The first 25 antique car entries will receive dash plates or plaques to commemorate their participation in the parade.

Those attending will be able to enjoy concessions sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11499 and a moonwalk by 5 p.m. Entertainment by gospel band "Soul Salvation" will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. VFW Commander Fred Box, who has played with the band on several occasions, recommended the band for the celebration.

"It's good old time gospel music," Box said. "Bluegrass and southern gospel."

The band is made up of four guitars as well as drums and is headed up by lead singer Rick Mowan.

"He's one of the best singers I've ever heard," Box said about Mowan.

The crowd may recognize some country favorites played by "Soul Salvation" such as "Long Black Train" by Josh Turner and Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses."

As the band plays, citizens can also choose to wander around the grounds for games and activities including a cakewalk and the dunk tank.

About 9 p.m., the VFW will present a 21-gun salute along with the National Anthem.

"The VFW has a 21-gun salute that is always impressive," Wilderson said. "They have new uniforms this year, so it should be really outstanding."

A fantastic fireworks display will follow at 9:15 p.m. Wilderson said it usually runs 45 minutes to an hour and is carried out by local pyrotechnicians.

"We always get good reports on it," Wilderson said. "It's really a very worthwhile, outstanding celebration of the Fourth."

A schedule of events can be found on page 2A, or at Basehor City Hall, 2620 N. 155th St.

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