Me + Fireworks = Disaster

Last year, I spent the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, catching a Cubs game, relaxing, reading, and hopefully to see a great city's fireworks display. I went to Navy Peir to watch the show, because that's where everyone goes. I got there two hours early, to make sure I got a good seat. Thousands of people showed up to watch the fireworks. Finally, it was time.

The music started and so did the carefully planned and orchestrated fireworks. The show was just starting to settle into a nice groove when the finale hit and it was over. "It couldn't be over," I said to myself. It didn't seem right. The fireworks lasted MAYBE ten minutes. Everyone sat there, waiting for the next round to start up. Nothing. The music was stopped and so were the fireworks.

Everyone got up and started to leave. The show was so unexpectedly short, that a group of people that was seated in front of me had just purchased several baskets of shrimp to eat for dinner. One got up before the show started to get some cocktail sauce and finally returned with some after the show was already over. Someone said, "uhhhh, the show is over." Everyone was in awe.

That was last year. This year, on the other hand... well, forget the other hand and look back at the first one. Kansas City was to celebrate BIG with this year's Fourth of July – it was Lewis and Clark's bicentennial celebration of their expedition for goodness sake. Not only was the airshow in town (great fun, but not free like in years past), but there was also a giant celebration at the new Berkeley Riverfront Park.

Usually Kansas City has several different fireworks displays, with the popular ones at Liberty Memorial and in the River Market. This year, in an attempt to get everyone down to the Lewis and Clark celebration, they moved both shows to the river.

I invited Scoot and Bill over to my roof so that we could get a great glimpse of the show. Standing up on my building and watching thousands upon thousands of people migrating over the Oak Street bridge was extremely cool. The city really is making downtown a destination, and while it will take several years for it to come to fruition, this was very nice to see.

With our chairs set, we took a seat five minutes before it was showtime. Scoot had gone down to the park earlier in the day and scoped out where the fireworks were supposed to be launched from – so we knew where to be looking (as if we would miss it, but better safe than sorry).

Ten o'clock rolled around and a minute later we saw fireworks. It was going real steady and big for about a minute, maybe two, and then... nothing. We were far enough away from the park, so we couldn't hear any music, so we waited. And we waited. Ten minutes later, and still no fireworks, the thousands upon thousands who had traveled over to the park were now coming back. We weren't convinced, we thought those people were going to be mad when the real show started and they weren't in their spot.

The show never started, or rather, it never really finished. Already, there's an article about it in the Kansas City Star, and it talks about there being a "computer glitch" which prevented the fireworks show from concluding. I think they meant to say, from really ever starting. They also report that the display went on for about "ten minutes"... but they meant to type "two." And my favorite quote of all is this, "Burke promised a free fireworks display for Kansas City to make up for the fizzled show." Hmmm, the show was already free... and good luck getting everyone back down there to watch it again.

I really don't want to think it's me that is causing the fireworks to not work properly... but I'm beginning to wonder.

+ original post date: July 5, 2004 04:21 AM
+ categories: KC


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