Fourth Of July Festivities Draw Crowd to Fort Smith
The Fort Smith Mayor’s Fourth of July Celebration kicked off with a car show by the Arkansas Valley Mustang Club at the Riverfront Glass Pavilion on North B St. Wednesday morning.
Antique cars made their way into the parking lot for spectators shortly before noon. The event lasts until 5 p.m.
Live music featuring Blue Fiddle, The River Valley Community Band and Mr. Cabbage Head and the Screaming Raddishes kicks off at 7 p.m. at Harry E. Kelley Park.
The Park at West End will also be open for those wishing to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel. A ride costs $1.
While many events are planned throughout the day, the big finale everyone looks forward to is Mayor Sandy Sander’s fireworks show. It will take place at Harry E Kelley Park on the riverfront in downtown Fort Smith just after sundown.
Despite burn bans, thousands are expected to come to Downtown Fort Smith Wednesday night to watch the Mayor’s Fourth of July Celebration. Several events are lined up for the evening.
“I get tired of setting up,” said Norman Gray with J&M Displays. “I never get tired of shooting fireworks.”
Gray has been lighting up the sky on Independence Day in Fort Smith for about five years. Because of dry weather this year, he says technicians are taking even more safety precautions.
“We’re going to have some extra fire protection out here tonight,” said Gray. “We’re going to come out beforehand and wet the ground down, put some extra water out, and make sure we’re doing a good safe show again.”
He says several of the company’s shows throughout the state have canceled due to burn bans, but he feels confident this event will be safe.
“The river makes a nice barrier then we’ve got the road on the other side,” said Gray. “If we do get a little grass fire, it’s not going to go very far.”
And while thousands will pile into Harry E. Kelley Park to watch, Gray says his favorite part about comes after the smoke settles.
“The biggest reward for the whole thing actually is afterwards when you can hear the crowd go wild,” said Gray.
If you can’t find a spot to park this evening, transit busses to take you down to the riverfront will start running at 6 p.m. along Garrison, Rogers Avenue, and on North A and B St.
Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended and ice chests are permitted. But the events are alcohol free. No personal fireworks will be allowed in the park.