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Monett's Fourth will be two-day celebration

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Preparations are advancing rapidly for Monett's July 4th festivities. Sarah Hohensee, Freedom and Fireworks chairperson, at right, and Brittie Oakley, the organization's treasurer, at left, displayed the banner that is being placed on the South Park lawn near the intersection of Highways 37 and 60. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Plans are in place for Monett's Freedom and Fireworks celebration on Friday and Saturday at Monett's South Park.

Sarah Hohensee, chairperson for the event, said 52 vendors have signed up for booths in the park. The traditional attractions, including live music, the Lions Club's barbecue chicken dinners and a $12,000 fireworks display on Saturday night will provide the attractions Monett audiences have come to love over the years.

Activities will start at 6 p.m. on Friday. Hohensee said Rusty Morris is providing a professional sound system for both days to enhance the quality of the experience. J.D. Buckridge will serve as master of ceremonies.

The "Rockets Red Glam" pageant for girls will begin at 6:30 p.m. and run until around 10 p.m. There will be four age categories: newborn to 23 months; ages 2 to 5; 6 to 11; and 12 and older. Four crowns and sashes will be awarded in each age group, including the naming of a queen.

Advanced registration is required to participate. Applications are available by calling organizer Kristie Morrison at 479-366-4473 or emailing her at kristie270@gmail.com. Audience admission is free.

Live music will be presented from the stage on the main field of the park south of the Frisco caboose. Performing on Friday will be Saving Silence, a Christian rock band, at 6:30 p.m.; Offset Sunset, an alternative Christian band, at 7:30 p.m.; and Consumed by Fire, a Christian rock band, at 8:30 p.m.

A smaller scale fireworks display will be presented at dark. Hohensee said the Friday show will only be visible from inside the park.

The Monett Lions Club will start the activities on Saturday, selling their barbecue chicken dinners, made at the barbecue pavilion west of the Park Casino. Bob Davis, chairman for the dinner, said the Lions plan to cook 1,300 chicken halves and begin serving at 11 a.m. Dinner will be served with baked beans, chips and bread.

Dinners will be available for $5.50 in advance or $6 at the park. Advance tickets are available at Monett banks.

The Monett Municipal Swimming Pool will be open through the afternoon free of charge, thanks to the Monett Area YMCA. Vendors booths will be open during the afternoon and the evening. Hohensee said vendors will offer items from food to crafts, including a chainsaw art demonstration.

Music is scheduled through the afternoon and the evening, either by live bands or played by a disc jockey. Five inflatables provided by the YMCA will be offered for entertaining children, as well as three from the Missouri National Guard. Two humvees and an 18-wheeler provided by the National Guard will also be available for viewing. Games for children will be provided by the First Baptist Church in the Park Casino.

A cooling station will be set up in the Casino on Saturday. Bottled water will be available from the information booth for a donation to help the tornado recovery effort in Joplin.

Evening activities will kick off with a pie eating contest on the outdoor stage at 5 p.m. Hohensee said no silverware will be allowed, though contestants can eat with their hands. Apple and cherry pies are being provided for the contest by Walmart.

At 6 p.m., the RWTB martial arts school in Cassville will provide a demonstration. Groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of the new YMCA facility are scheduled to begin on the west side of the park at 6:30 p.m.

Taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. will be the Barry County band Corybell Country, which will play until around 9 p.m.

A patriotic address is planned at 9 p.m.

Cory from Corybell Country will sing the National Anthem prior to the fireworks show by A.M. Pyrotechnics, of Buffalo. Hohensee said Saturday's show will be one of the biggest Monett has ever seen and will include larger sized shells than will be used in the Springfield show.

Following the fireworks, organizers will offer a new feature with a Zumba session led by an instructor from the lighted main stage.

Freedom and Fireworks T-shirts will be available throughout the festival for $5.

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