SIKESTON - If you've wanted to be a part of one of the biggest Independence Day fireworks shows in the area, here's your chance.
Sikeston's annual fireworks show on the Fourth of July is well-known throughout Southeast Missouri. What most people don't know is that it is not taxpayer money from the city that foots the bill.
The Sikeston Elks Lodge is the organization behind the spectacular fireworks shows that have been seen here for at least the last 16 years, assisted by various businesses and organizations over the years.
Donations, which used to cover about half of the cost, tapered off as the years went by, however, while the price of the show has gone up.
"Last year the cost was around $8,000," said Wayne Smith, exalted ruler-president of the Sikeston Elks Lodge 2319. "We're trying to keep it around that, but the more donations we get the bigger the show we can put on."
By the summer of 2002, the Elks found they were shouldering almost the entire bill, compelling the organization to seek assistance.
For the 2003 show, Sikeston Elks Lodge members decided to begin actively seeking donations from area businesses and individuals to help fund the Fourth of July fireworks display.
"We had a fair year last year on donations," said Smith. "Any help we could get this year, we sure appreciate it."
Smith said people from all over come here to see Sikeston's fireworks show, and he hopes the Elks, assisted by donations, can continue to put the annual pyrotechnic display on. "The kids really enjoy it and look forward to it," he said. "Everyone really enjoys it."
A part of the community since 1965, the Sikeston Elks Lodge has supported many local activities over the years in addition to the fireworks shows.
Donations toward the Independence Day fireworks show may be made to Sikeston Elks Lodge Fire Works Committee, P.O. Box 931, Sikeston, MO 63801.