Fireworks display planned at Cooper County Fairgrounds

Chris Bowie
A Fourth of July celebration will be held at the Cooper County Fairgrounds instead of Kemper park this year. Gates open 8 p.m. with the display to start at about 9-9:15 p.m.

The Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce has received the go ahead to hold a Fourth of July celebration at the Cooper County Fairgrounds.

The celebration was funded, in part by the capital improvements program tax administered by Boonville and the chamber.

Gates will open at the fairgrounds at 8 p.m. with the fireworks beginning at 9:00-9:15 p.m., chamber Director Karen Esser said.

The change of venue was necessary mostly due to ongoing construction near Kemper park, she said. Parking is limited and potential hazards because of the construction and space limitations also would impact social distancing recommended by state and county officials.

“The only thing we ask is that spectators adhere to these social distancing guidelines by remaining in their cars or in close proximity to them,” Esser said. “Convertibles, SUVs, and trucks might enhance the view and optimize seating arrangements.”

Grandstand seating will not be available, but lawn chairs or other seating can be brought to the fairgrounds. Restrooms located inside any fairground building will be unavailable, Esser said. The city will have handwashing stations and portable facilities on-site, though.

“In order to have something we had to make sure that we complied with recommendations that are coming out from the county and the city,” Esser said. “The option was try to figure out something that we could have or not have anything at all and I think everybody agreed that we psychologically need something. We wanted to have it, we just had to figure out a way to have it.”

KWRT has graciously agreed to provide uninterrupted musical entertainment from a variety of genres as cars arrive and depart, Esser said. A playlist of patriotic songs can be heard during the display if people tune to 1370 AM on their vehicle’s radio.

The Spirit of 76, out of Midway, will shoot off the fireworks. The program will last approximately 20-30 minutes, Esser said.

The fireworks will be free and open to the public.

“It’s going to be a really, really nice program,”Esser said. “The way we looked at it, it's not what everybody wants. This may not be the celebration you were hoping to have, but it’s America’s birthday and that’s the reason enough regardless of the restrictions.”

Parking will not be allowed on public roadways and/or Interstate 70. State and local law enforcement will be on site as will fire safety and emergency personnel.