On a whim, I went to Iowa, this weekend, and hurried back last night. As I drove south, the countryside around me began to sparkle with occasional blasts of ignited fireworks. When I crossed back into Missouri, they went from occasional to constant, and were soon accompanied by the spectacular backdrop of lightning storms. I rolled into Kansas City surrounded by exploding fireworks and torrents of falling rain.
Today, I took it upon myself to take it easy, and spend a quiet day at home, and quiet the day was, until the sun went down. If there were a lot of fireworks going off last night, it was nothing compared to tonight. I was a bit despondent, earlier, when I looked up which places would be having public displays tonight. Among about 40 or 50 places listed, downtown had a show scheduled, but not tonight. This amazed and frustrated me. How can you have a Fourth of July and not have fireworks downtown?
The answer is: the public shows have nothing on the private ones.
Even as I type this, salutes and crackling rosettes, booming in all directions, continue to shake the walls and ceiling, and the odor of spent explosives is thick in the air outside, along with the drifting haze of smoke.
I love Kansas City.
9:50 AM, Jul 5, 2005
An interesting thought on private v. public fireworks. I agree, in many ways there is nothing better than lighting off your own, especially when they are as readily available as they are in MO.
(Pondering aloud) However, I wonder if the reason there is no central fireworks display in KC is the lack of a real nucleus for the city. From my own visits as well as your descriptions, the downtown does not exactly draw people. There is The Plaza, though I don't know if you would consider that downtown or not. In a city that is as sprawling as KC--isn't KC proper something like 40 miles from north to south?--there is probably a worlds of fun display, Kauffman Stadium display, Olathe display, all on the fourth.
Out here, where suburbs begin less than 5 miles from the heart of the city, it is easy for visitors to walk or hop on public transit to get to a prime viewing area. Imagine the congestion in KC when every family hops in their own car and tries to find a parking spot downtown.
Anyhow, I think this is lacking anything resembling a unified point but I think the lack of a central (and grand) display on the fourth is a symptom of society's desire for space and belief that they should be able to drive anywhere and everywhere they desire to get.
I could be completely wrong, though. Chicago is large in population and square miles but has a nucleus and the advantage of a great public transit system and still they have their largest show (Navy Pier) on the third.
Like I said, this was just an extemporaneous writing, I have no answers yet. But come back to Boston, we'll give you great fireworks on the Fourth.
12:07 PM, Jul 5, 2005
12:14 PM, Jul 5, 2005