July 1, 2014

Let’s light this candle: Kansas City area explodes with fun on Independence Day

The traditional way to celebrate on Independence Day is to take in a fireworks display, and you can do that at dozens of venues throughout the area. Most rural towns and many suburban cities have their own displays. In addition to fireworks, music will fill the air, parades will fill the streets and food will fill the stomachs.

Doesn’t July Fourth sneak up on us every year?

Most years it seems that no sooner do the kids get out of school than here comes the Fourth, and at that point summer seems about half over, even though, officially, it started only two weeks earlier.

And the Royals are usually out of the pennant chase by July 4, so you don’t really care about baseball.

Then the weather turns so horribly hot you can hardly wait for September and Labor Day and the start of football season.

Well, maybe this year is different. Maybe the Royals will stay in the pennant chase all summer. Maybe it won’t be horribly hot for eight weeks straight. Maybe this summer is actually just getting started.

Maybe there is reason to celebrate.

Of course, the traditional way to celebrate on Independence Day is to take in a fireworks display, and you can do that at dozens of venues throughout the area. Most rural towns and many suburban cities have their own displays.

This year, most are actually on July 4 (rather than the closest Saturday) because the holiday falls on a Friday. But quite a few displays will go off tonight as well.

In addition to fireworks, music will fill the air, parades will fill the streets and food will fill the stomachs. Some locations will provide all of the above, including Liberty and Parkville, which have festivities over multiple days.

The biggest one-day celebrations in Missouri are KC RiverFest at Berkley Riverfront Park (it charges $5) and the Big Bang put on by Jackson County at Longview Lake Shelter No. 13 (it’s free). On the Kansas side, the biggie is Overland Park Rotary’s Star Spangled Spectacular at Corporate Woods (also free).

For those so inclined, Independence Day also will provide several chances to test your fitness in a road race run during the heat of summer.

If you can survive that, the rest of the summer should be a cakewalk.


Powell Gardens

What: Booms and Blooms Festival. Highlights will include daylilies, an edible landscape, music by Lee’s Summit School of Rock and the Lee’s Summit Symphony, and fireworks. $5-$12.

When: 9 a.m. July 3

Where: 1609 N.W. U.S. 50, Kingsville

Info: powellgardens.org/booms

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm

What: Community Center grand opening event (July 3, with fireworks at 9 p.m.) and Independence Day celebration (July 4). $3-$6.

When: 4 p.m. July 3, 10 a.m. July 4

Where: 1200 Kansas City Road, Olathe

Info: mahaffie.org, 913-971-5111


What: Liberty4thFest will cover two days; performance of “Letters to Liberty,” beer garden, music by the Stolen Winnebagos and more, July 3; parade and fireworks, July 4.

When: 5 p.m. July 3, 9:30 a.m. July 4

Where: Liberty Performing Arts Theatre, Liberty Square and William Jewell College

Info: liberty4thfest.com

Lee’s Summit

What: Fireworks display, with vendors, inflatables and entertainment

When: 6 p.m. July 3

Where: Legacy Park

Info: cityofls.net, 816-969-1500

Kearney Amphitheater

What: Fireworks celebration, with fireworks after a free concert by Switch

When: 7:30 p.m. July 3

Where: Jesse James Park, Kearney

Info: kearneyamphitheater.com


What: All American Celebration. Music will feature the Zeros with guest DJ Miss Kansas Theresa Vail

When: 8 p.m. July 3

Where: One Block South, 7300 W. 119th, Overland Park

Info: oneblocksouthkc.com, 913-451-0444


What: American Dreams. Four-day celebration will have carnival throughout; highlights on July 4 will be parade, Parkville Symphonic Band, skydiving team and fireworks.

When: 6 p.m. July 3, 7 a.m. July 4, 6 p.m. July 5

Where: Most events downtown

Info: parkvillemo.org

Bishop Miege High School

What: Fireworks display, put on by Fairway, Westwood and Roeland Park

When: 9:30 p.m. July 3

Where: 5041 Reinhardt, Roeland Park

Info: fairwaykansas.org

Pierson Park

What: Fireworks display by Turner Recreation Commission and Wyandotte County Parks and Recreation

When: 9:45 p.m. July 3

Where: 1800 S. 55th, Kansas City, Kan.

Info: turnerrec.org

Old Town Lenexa

What: Freedom Run 5K and 10K. $25-$30

When: 7 a.m. July 4

Where: Santa Fe Trail Drive and Pflumm Road

Info: lenexa.com/parks/festivals_freedom.html, 913-477-7100

Prairie Village

What: VillageFest. In addition to pancake breakfast and children’s activities, there will be crafters and a pie-baking contest.

When: 7:30 a.m. July 4

Where: 77th Street and Mission Road

Info: pvkansas.com, 913-381-6464

Summit Fair Shopping Center

What: Stars and Stripes 5K run/walk. $35-$40

When: 7:30 a.m. July 4

Where: 840 N.W. Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit

Info: starsandstripes5k.com

Ward Parkway Center

What: Four on the Fourth 4-mile run/walk. $30-$35

When: 7:30 a.m. July 4

Where: 85th and Ward Parkway

Info: wardparkwayfouronthefourth.com

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

What: Independence Day, including games, contests and a parade. $2

When: 9 a.m. July 4

Where: 13800 Switzer, Overland Park

Info: opkansas.org/.../deanna-rose-childrens-farmstead

Fort Osage

What: Independence Day, early 19th century style. $3-$7

When: 9 a.m. July 4

Where: 107 Osage, Sibley

Info: jacksongov.org/parks, 816-503-4860

Missouri Town 1855

What: Independence Day, 1850s-style, highlighted by parade. $3-$5

When: 9 a.m. July 4

Where: Fleming Park, Lee’s Summit

Info: jacksongov.org/parks, 816-503-4860

Old Town Lenexa

What: Lenexa Community Days Parade

When: 10 a.m. July 4

Where: Santa Fe Trail Drive and Pflumm Road

Info: lenexa.com/parks/festivals_commdays.html, 913-477-7100

Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery

What: Fourth of July Reds, Whites and Blues, featuring wine and games

When: 11 a.m. July 4

Where: 16905 Jowler Creek Road, Platte City

Info: jowlercreek.com/events.html

Merriam Marketplace

What: Flags 4 Freedom. Flag display; also farmers market and concerts.

When: Concert to Celebrate the Flags, 12:30 p.m. July 4; flag display takedown, 9 a.m. July 5

Where: 5701 Merriam Drive, Merriam

Info: flags4freedom.org

Berkley Riverfront Park

What: KC RiverFest. Huge fireworks show will follow evening of music on two stages, children’s activities and vendors. $5 admission

When: 4 p.m. July 4

Where: Grand Boulevard and Riverfront Road

Info: kcriverfest.com

Corporate Woods

What: Star Spangled Spectacular. Day will include live music with vendors and children’s activities, capped by fireworks and more live music.

When: 4 p.m. July 4

Where: 8717 W. 110th, Overland Park

Info: starspangledspectacular.org

Fort Leavenworth

What: July Fourth Celebration, with children’s activities, food, music and fireworks

When: 4 p.m. July 4

Where: Merritt Lake

Info: fortleavenworthfmwr.com, 913-684-1674


What: Spirit of America Celebration, with car show, music and fireworks

When: 4 p.m. July 4

Where: Recreation Park

Info: raymore.com


What: July 4 celebration will feature music by Billy Ebeling and the Late for Dinner Band along with Big Time Grain Company, followed by fireworks.

When: 5 p.m. July 4

Where: Celebration Park

Info: gardnerkansas.gov


What: Fireworks display

When: 5 p.m. July 3

Where: Miola Lake

Info: paolachamber.org

Leawood City Park

What: Fourth of July Celebration, with children’s activities, vendors, music and fireworks

When: 5:30 p.m. July 4

Where: 10601 Lee, Leawood

Info: leawood.org/parks, 913-339-6700 ext. 201


What: A Salute to Freedom will start with Community Parade and conclude with fireworks.

When: 6 p.m. July 4

Where: KCPL grounds

Info: stilwellcommunity.org

Longview Lake Shelter No. 13

What: The Big Bang. Jackson County’s free Fourth of July celebration will feature children’s carnival and free concert by Backroad Anthem, capped by fireworks.

When: 6:30 p.m. July 4

Where: Raytown Road

Info: jacksongov.org/parks, 816-503-4800

De Soto

What: Fourth of July celebration, with music, food, vendors and fireworks.

When: 7 p.m. July 4

Where: Riverfest Park

Info: desotoks.org


What: Independence Day Celebration, with music and fireworks

When: 7 p.m. July 4

Where: Oak Grove Park, 76th and North Troost

Info: gladstone.mo.us, 816-423-4091

Blue Springs

What: Red, White & Blue Springs, with music and fireworks

When: 7:30 p.m. July 4

Where: Peve Stadium, 2000 N.W. Ashton

Info: bluespringsgov.com

Lakeside Speedway

What: Fireworks display after racing. $6-$12

When: 7:30 p.m. July 4

Where: 5615 Wolcott, Kansas City, Kan.

Info: lakesidespeedway.net, 913-299-9206


What: Fireworks display

When: Dusk July 4

Where: Smithville Lake

Info: smithvillechamber.org

Worlds of Fun

What: Celebrate America fireworks

When: 10 p.m. July 4-5, 12, 19 and 26

Where: 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave.

Info: worldsoffun.com, 816-303-5120

Independence Event Center

What: Freedom Ride. Options will range from 35 to 85 miles; benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

When: 7 a.m. July 5

Where: 19100 E. Valley View Parkway

Info: independenceeventscenter.com

Lanesfield Historic Site

What: Old-fashioned Independence Day. Free.

When: 1-5 p.m. July 5

Where: 18745 S. Dillie, Edgerton

Info: jocomuseum.org, 913-893-6645

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