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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Celebrate the Fourth of July

Friday, July 1, 2011

Preparations are complete for Monett's July 4th celebration, taking place Friday evening and Saturday at South Park. Activities will get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Sarah Hohensee, chairperson for Freedom and Fireworks, said there are now more than 60 vendors signed up.

The vendors will be lined up along the road between the Frisco caboose and the tennis courts. Mike's Amusements, run by Mike England, will have three rides not seen in Monett before, plus a water slide. England will set up south of the new picnic pavilion across from the tennis courts.

The main stage, where all the bands will perform, will be closer to the vendors this year. The sound system is provided by Rusty Morris, who has worked with a number of the bands that will be performing.

J.D. Buckridge, former director of The Den youth center now affiliated with New Life Radio in Joplin, will serve as the master of ceremonies and will deliver the evening address on Saturday. A resident of Joplin, Buckridge attended the Joplin High School graduation on May 22 and will offer a first-hand account of the first 22 minutes of the tornado strike.

The festival is offering a fundraiser to help with the Joplin tornado recovery. Bottled water will be available for any donation at the information booth, located in the middle of the grounds.

Additional attractions at the park will include the inflatables from the Monett Area YMCA and humvees from the Missouri National Guard.

Christian bands Offset Sunset and Consumed By Fire will perform on Friday. The Rockets Red Glam pageant will get underway at 6:30 p.m. in the Park Casino and is expected to conclude by 10 p.m.

On Saturday, the Monett Lions will begin cooking and selling their barbecue chicken dinners from the barbecue pavilion west of the Casino.

Beginning at 1 p.m., Branson performer Ron Shepherd will kick off the entertainment with country music. Jami Larrimore, from Pierce City, a leading performing in the Howdy Neighbor Days Idol contest for the last two years, will sing at 2:30 p.m. Angela Bennett will perform at 4 p.m. Between acts, 10-year-old Talia Cavasos, of Monett, will sing and play guitar.

Other performers will include an artisan from Marionville who creates animals and other figures from tree stumps using only a chainsaw. Hohensee said his skill is astounding.

The pie eating contest will take place at 5 p.m. and is limited to 10 contestants each in the youth and adult competition. The winners who finish their pies first will receive a $20 gift certificate from Walmart.

Corybel Country will begin the evening music at 7:30 p.m. after the martial arts demonstration by the RWTB school, of Cassville, at 6 p.m. and the groundbreaking for the new YMCA building at 6:30 p.m. The band will play until around 9 p.m., at which time Buckridge will deliver the patriotic address. Fireworks will follow.

After the fireworks, people will be able to stay for a Zumba session on the park lawn. Jenni Schmidt and fellow instructor Lupita will lead the energetic exercise session for an hour from the lighted stage. Hohensee asked that everyone participating sign a waiver form at the information booth.

Parks Superintendent Russ Balmas said parking will be the same as in recent years inside the park.

Members of the Monett Jaycees and alumni from the Monett Chamber of Commerce's leadership program have played a major role in organizing the event and will be assisting, Hohensee said. Young people from The Den have also helped this week handing out promotional fliers. The youth will also assist children playing on the inflatables.

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