“Ooh!” “Ahh!” Repeat.
Once again, it’s time to practice that familiar vocal exercise at dozens of local fireworks displays honoring the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Once again, blankets, lawn chairs and a sense of history-meets-destiny will accompany the patriotic proceedings, with powdered wigs entirely optional yet fancifully encouraged.
And, once again, you can’t do it all. So here’s a sure-fire sampling of area fireworks displays in different corners of the Kansas City metro. If they're in your virtual backyard, great. If not, consider making the drive. Either way, if you’re making like Thomas Jefferson, don’t forget the talcum!
Have a blast in more ways than one with an old-fashioned ice cream social, a Little Miss & Mister Firecracker Pageant and stirring tuneage from the Bonner Springs City Band leading up to the skyrockets in flight. Sounds pretty tasty, cute and dazzling.
Saturday, 8-10 p.m.; Kelly Murphy Park, Second and Elm streets, Bonner Springs, Kan.; admission: free.
The 25th anniversary of Booms & Blooms also marks its finale, with various aspects of the single-day event to become multiple events on different days next summer to avoid the possibility of a total rainout. Preceding lakeside fireworks at Kansas City’s botanical garden will be a day chock full of interactive family activities and the chance to take in the exhibition, “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks,” as well as enjoy the suitably flowery sounds of the Lee’s Summit Symphony.
Saturday, 3-10 p.m.; Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, Mo.; admission: $5-$12, ages 4 and younger free.
The family that watches fireworks displays together, stays until the end of the show – unless the mosquitos have their way. So bring plenty of bug spray to this fireworks spectacular that also features live music and plenty of kids’ games and attractions. Register online to be eligible for onsite raffle prizes ... like maybe bug spray? Just sayin.’
Saturday, 7:30-10:30 p.m.; Cass County Fairgrounds, 308 W. Commercial St., Pleasant Hill, Mo; admission: free.
Before the fireworks get going, feel free to sink your freedom-loving teeth (it’s OK, they don’t have to be wooden like George Washington’s) into a barbecue contest, a car show, a bike parade, live music and assorted carnival rides and games. Extra-exciting plus: There’s a dunk tank just waiting to prove that all equally-created men and women can get equally wet in equally-riotous fashion. So, now you’ve got to go.
Saturday, 4-10 p.m.; Joel Dean Hitt Park, 813 Allendale Lake Rd., Greenwood, Mo.; admission: free.
Family attractions include balloon and face-painting artists and evening concerts by Kansas City blues buster Amanda Fish (2019 Blues Music Award-winner for Best Emerging Artist Album) and well-traveled Journey tribute band Revelation – don’t stop believin’ in that fireworks feelin’!
Saturday, 3-10:30 p.m.; Osawatomie City Lake, 32942 W. Lakeside Dr., Osawatomie, Kan.; admission: free.
6. Liberty Fest
Fireworks aren’t the only hook at this July Fourth shindig, including fishing in stocked ponds, virtual reality experiences, lawn games, a ceremony celebrating military veterans and glitter tattoo artists. OK, who wants a super-sparkling American Bald Eagle temporarily affixed to their skin? Better question: Who doesn’t?
July 3, 6-10:30 p.m., Fountain Bluff Sports Complex, 2200 E. Old State Route 210, Liberty, Mo.; admission: free.
Fort Leavenworth was established in 1827 and, let’s face it, the fireworks back then weren’t so hot. Yet it remains the oldest continuously active U.S. Army post west of the Mississippi, which makes it a perfectly appropriate location to revel in Old Glory by way of modern sky candy ... ooh, that looks like a giant bag of M&Ms.
July 4, 3-10 p.m.; Merritt Lake at Fort Leavenworth, 881 Mcclellan Ave., Leavenworth, Mo.; admission: free.
The good-time country music of State Line Drive and headliner Noe Palma will set the stage for flag-waving fireworks. And there’s a first-come, first-served free dinner for military vets and their immediate families. Bon appetit and thank you for your service.
July 4, 5-10 p.m.; Corporate Woods Founders’ Park, 9711 W. 109th St., Overland Park, Kan.; admission: free.
9. KC Riverfest
Nine diverse music acts on two stages get the party started at what may well be the area’s biggest Independence Day affair located just north of adjacent downtown Kansas City. Limited on-site parking is available, but organizers encourage folks to take the free KC Streetcar to the River Market stop and then take a free KC Riverfest Shuttle to where the I'm-proud-to-be-an-American action is.
July 4; 3-10 p.m.; Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 E. Riverfront Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
The “best fireworks display around” is promised along with loads of summery food treats and – if weather conditions are agreeable – tethered hot balloon rides. No, you may not take your Coney dog up with you. Unless maybe it's also tied down. Let's hear it for American ingenuity!
July 4, 6-10 p.m.; Bent Oak Park, 1300 S.E. 30th St., Oak Grove, Mo.; admission: free.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.