Plans are taking shape for Monett's July 4 celebration, which will fall on Saturday this year. This will be the third year the Monett Chamber of Commerce has been in charge of the event, and plans reflect solidifying strategies the Chamber has used in the past.
The event will again take place at Monett's South Park on July 4.
Jim Haston, chairman for the event, said vendors will be able to open at the noon hour if they wish, to serve those coming to buy the traditional barbecued chicken dinners from the Monett Lions Club. Vendors are encouraged to set up the previous day.
The location for vendors in recent years, between the caboose and the tennis courts on the main field of the park, will probably be used. Haston said organizers may vary the site a bit to see if it can be improved.
Activities planned by the Chamber will start at 4 p.m. Haston said concentrating the event in the late afternoon and into the evening avoids the heat and follows the pattern of when the public has chosen to come to the park in the past.
Chamber activities are expanding this year, spreading across the park. The City Park Casino will be used this year for bingo games, sponsored by Tyson Foods. There will also be a pizza pie eating contest.
The YMCA will again be setting up its inflatables out, setting up south of the tennis courts in the main field.
"It's tremendously expensive to hire a firm to bring in equipment like inflatables," Haston said. "The Chamber is ever grateful to Gordon Brown and the Monett Area YMCA for this service."
Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) have again been enlisted to run a variety of games for children starting at 4 p.m. on the east end of the main field, below the hillside where the fireworks will be launched. Haston said the MOPS volunteers will focus on old-fashioned races and group activities that have been fun for kids for generations.
A karate demonstration is also planned in the late afternoon on the east end of the park's main field.
New for the July 4 celebration will be a talent show, held on the main stage, which will be located on the south side of the main field as it has been in recent years. Performances will be limited to around four minutes each. Separate divisions will be offered for adults and children.
Participants can pre-register for the talent show by calling the Chamber office at 235-7919 or by signing up on July 4, Haston said. Prizes will be awarded to the winners, he added.
Heading into the evening, live bands will take the main stage. Performing up to the 8 p.m. hour will be Ripplin' Creek Bluegrass and The Division. Recorded music will be provided by B Sharp Entertainment out of Springfield.
The traditional patriotic address will be given at 8 p.m. The speaker will be announced closer to the event, Haston said. Following the speech, recorded music will again be aired for the gathering crowd, leading up to the fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Haston said collections for funds to pay for this year's event are still underway. The entire event has a budget of around $12,000, including the deposit to secure the services of A&M Pyrotechnics to return the following year. In a tighter economy, Haston said it has been harder for Monett businesses to support the fireworks as they have in the past. Private donations are welcome and will help bolster this year's show.
The fireworks display is expected to be much like last year's, Haston said, full of color and excitement.
Organizers have not finalized all their plans and have not ruled out an after-the-fireworks activity for youth, since the national holiday falls on a weekend, Haston said.