(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
This year's celebration of the birth of America will "bigger and better than ever" promised Wayne Smith, exalted ruler of the Sikeston Elks Lodge which annually sponsors the local fireworks display and fishing derby.
Thanks to the generosity of several local businesses and individuals, the Elks Lodge will again have a fireworks display. This year's event is set for dusk Friday at the Sikeston Sports Complex and should last an hour or more. "Because we did get some help (with funding), this year we will be firing some bigger fireworks at the beginning and the finale," said Smith, who added the middle will have lots of fireworks, too.
To get into the swing of the holiday, the Elks will host their youth fishing tournament at the Sports Complex lake from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 4. Youngsters should bring their own fishing poles with the Elks Lodge furnishing the bait for the competition. A variety of prizes will be awarded including honors for the most fish caught and the biggest fish.
The city of Charleston's Fourth of July celebration will be a fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday at A.D. Simpson Park on South Main Street.
The celebration began last Friday in East Prairie as the community hosted its annual Sweet Corn Festival. This Thursday night there will be a street dance at 9 p.m. while on the Fourth of July activities will include a car show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the swimming pool parking lot and a parade at 10 a.m. along the city's main thoroughfare. At 9:15 p.m. Friday will be a fireworks display.
In Matthews, the Fourth of July celebration is sponsored by the Big Prairie Jaycees and begins at noon in the Matthews City Park. Throughout the day there will be games for children, raffles and food available. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. entertainment will be provided by the Soul Kitchen Band with the fireworks to follow. Concluding the evening's entertainment will be Elvis impersonator Darrell Ray.
The New Madrid Chamber of Commerce will again host a fireworks display over the Mississippi River on July 4. Several Relay for Life teams will have concessions available at the base of the levee on Main Street across from the New Madrid Historical Museum prior to the fireworks.
Because of renovations to the park and boat dock, portions of the levee will be closed, however "people are invited to bring their lawn chairs and sit on top of the levee from the east of the park to the observation deck to view the display," said Margaret Palmer, director of the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce. No vehicles or fireworks will be allowed on the levee after 6 p.m. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m.
Since 1908, Oran residents have celebrated the holiday with food and fun and more food, then fireworks.
The Knights of Columbus sponsor the day which features a family-style meal or buffet at the Knights of Columbus grounds. Serving is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. then again from 4 to 7 p.m. "This is one of the big attractions - our famous roast beef and gravy, fried chicken, dressing and ham. It's the whole works and it's a pretty good deal," said Terry Seyer. The cost of the meal, which includes dessert and drink, is $6.50 for adults and $2.50 for children with those children under the age of 6 eating free.
Also planned are concessions, children's games, free entertainment, a horseshoe tournament beginning at 1 p.m., bingo during the afternoon and evening and wagon rides. There will be a turtle race at 4 p.m. and a kiddie tractor pull at 6 p.m.
Beginning at 8 p.m. there will be the dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall and finishing off the evening at 10 p.m. will be what Seyer called "one of the biggest fireworks displays" in the area.
Portageville annually hosts its Fourth of July FunFest at Meatte Park.
Activities begin at 10 a.m. and include raffles, beauty pageants, food booths and children's games. The band Neon Nights will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. and a fireworks display is slated to begin as the band ends its final song.