Preparations are complete for Monett's Fourth of July celebration. This year's event will feature a number of innovations designed to enhance the day of fun at Monett's South Park.
Activity at the park on Sunday will start at 1 p.m. with free swimming at the Monett swimming pool, thanks to special arrangements made with the Monett Area YMCA. The pool will be open until 5 p.m.
A full line-up of entertainment features will start at 2 p.m.
For the first time, Star-Walk Entertainment will bring its playground of inflatables and games to Monett. Admission is required to participate.
"Last year we had five inflatables available for free for 90 minutes," said Sarah Hohensee, chairperson of the Fourth of July Committee. "With Star-Walk, we'll have 15 inflatables for seven hours."
The entertainment options will include: an 85-foot-long Ironman obstacle course; pedestal joist; Velcro wall; a sports arena to try skills on several different games; bounce and toddler bounce houses; basketball "inflate-a-hoops;" water balloon battle; water tag; mist tents; high-striker ring-the-bell challenge; giant flexible tube sky dancers; and a bingo site.
Star-Walk's offerings will be available on a package basis. No per-ride payment will be offered. Armbands covering the cost are available for $12 in advance or $15 on Sunday. Armbands are available from most downtown businesses or from Hohensee at the Monett Chamber office.
The games will also be set up in a different part of the park. For the first time, the game area will be along Highway 37, inside the park's west entrance.
More than 30 vendors have signed up to have booths in the park for the day. Vendors will be setting up along the park road between the caboose and the tennis courts, on the north edge of the main field. Space will be also available for booths in the main field south of the tennis courts.
Vendor location will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday evening between 7 and 9 p.m. Hohensee said electric outlet access will be secured for those who have registered in advance. Set-up will be available no earlier than 1 p.m. on Sunday.
"There will be plenty of space," Hohensee said.
Pony rides and train rides separate from Star-Walk Entertainment's offerings will run in the vendors' midway. There will be a separate charge for those offerings, Hohensee said.
The City Park Casino will be open as a cooling off area beginning at 2 p.m. Bingo will be offered in the Casino from 4 to 8 p.m.
All of the other scheduled activities will take place on the event's main stage, located as usual on the southeast corner of the park's main field. Silhouette Entertainment will play recorded music through the afternoon and into the evening.
The Monett Jaycees will offer a hotwing cooking contest at 4 p.m. at the club's booth. Hotwings will have to be cooked in advance and brought in for judging. For information, call Jeff Bell at 235-7900.
At 5 p.m. a pie-eating contest will be held on the main stage. Hohensee said whether the challenge will be pizza pie or dessert pies has not yet been decided. Contestants of any age can enter at contest time. The event will be limited to 10 participants.
At 6 p.m. RWTB Martial Arts from Cassville will offer a demonstration of skills from the main stage. Hohensee said the club has offered to show "cool, top-secret stuff."
At 7 p.m. Silhouette Entertainment will host a karaoke contest for one hour. Pre-registration at the information booth must be made by 6:30 p.m. Registration is $10. The top three contestants will receive trophies. The first place winner will also get studio time and a photo session.
To avoid problems and inappropriate songs, Hohensee said all contestants will have to select a song from the books of pre-recorded music available from Silhouette. Judging will be done by Speed Shift, the band which will play later in the evening.
At 8 p.m. the annual patriotic address will be offered from the main stage.
After the address, Speed Shift will take the stage and play a wide range of cover songs for approximately an hour. Speed Shift plays classic rock, new rock, top 40 country and assorted Elivs Presley songs. Making up Speed Shift are drummer Van Bekas and lead singer Scott Garner, both of Pierce City, and lead guitarist Clint Hoppes and bassist Johnny Crawford, both of Exeter.
The fireworks display from A.M. Pyrotechnics, of Buffalo, will begin around 9:30 p.m. and last for about 20 minutes.
At the conclusion of the fireworks show, Speed Shift will return to the stage and play until midnight. The center field of the park will be open for dancing and socializing. Vendors will reopen and continue serving customers while the band plays.
The festival committee hosted a T-shirt design contest. T-shirts will be available on Sunday at a cost of $7 for adults and $5 for youth.
For additional information, call Hohensee at 417-669-2019.