An Independence Day celebration has been properly scheduled for 16 Great Bend neighborhoods, according to Great Bend officials.
The neighborhoods have requested “block parties,” for July 4, which allows the residents to block off the street for a celebration.
No doubt part of the July 4 celebration involves fireworks, another holiday tradition.
Great Bend’s city-wide fireworks display is scheduled at dusk Thursday at the Expo Grounds.
No one is happier than the three major fireworks stands after last year’s July 4 fireworks celebration was short-circuited by extremely dry conditions.
“We’re doing really well this year,” said Damian Tudor at Big Tent Fireworks on the west edge of Great Bend off K-96/U.S. 56. “It was tough last year because people were not buying because of the local fireworks ban.”
Tudor said Big Tent minimized its losses last year by limiting their inventory and selling back unused items. He said Big Tent, operated by Ellinwood’s Menges Rental, Inc., has done well with its “buy one, get one free,” offer, good on all items.
“It’s worked out really well for sales because you can mix and match your items,” he said. “You can buy an item and get a similarly-priced item free.”
The other major Great Bend fireworks stands are also home-owned, family-oriented operations.
C&S Fireworks, 2100 Main Street, is also offering “buy one, get one free,” on select items. C&S will offer a $1,200 fireworks giveaway on July 4.
C&S will offer a drawing to be entered in the car giveaway. C&S acquires its fireworks from TNT in Tulsa, Okla.
C&S owner Russell Combs operates AAA Lockout and runs local concession stands at the Barton County Fair and dragstrip. The indoor location offers plenty of parking and easy access.
“We’re always busier on the first day and last day,” Combs said. “We’ve had good sales with our buy one, get one free promotion. This week is one of our biggest weeks of the year.”
T&L Fireworks, north of the bridge construction off U.S. 281, offers a comfortable 7,500 square foot, air-conditioned facility. T&L Fireworks scheduled its $1,000 fireworks giveaway Wednesday.
T&L started fireworks sales from a backyard operation coordinated by Tom and Linda Barnes.
“My dad just has always loved fireworks and he started from his backyard,” said Kathy Kaiser, a daughter who helps with her sister Christy Kuhn at the Great Bend location. “We’ve grown to an air- conditioned warehouse in Great Bend and locations in Hoisington and Larned. This is the biggest job we do every year. It’s pretty hectic, but it’s a lot of fun. We’re fortunate to have good people working here. It’s a lot of family and friends.”
She said artillery shells and nighttime displays have been popular sellers.
“The fun part is when you see families and parents come back every year,” Kaiser said. “It’s amazing when you see how much money the customers spend on the fireworks.”
Kaiser said more than 30 people work in the Great Bend location. T&L fireworks locations in Hoisington and Larned are coordinated by volunteer groups.
Block parties for the 4th of July:
• 1700 block Adams
• 5500 block Apache Road
• 1500 block Cherry Lane
• Hoover Street from Forest to Broadway
• 900 block Hubbard
• 2500 block Jackson
• 2200 block Monroe
• 1100 block Odell
• 1400 block Odell
• 5800 block Rosewood Drive
• 1600 block Van Fleet
• 900 block Williams
• 5000 block 12th
• 3000 block 17th
• 2400 block 16th
• 3100 block 27th