‘The Show Will Go On’ Fireworks Set For July 6

Stormy Waters
As the historic flood of 2019 has affected many businesses, it has also affected some of our biggest Warsaw events.  The Dam Experience Fireworks will be moved to Drake Harbor, filling the downtown with thousands of people.  Parking will resemble Jubilee Days and Heritage Days. The Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, The City of Warsaw, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri Highway Patrol, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and Warsaw Police Department have worked together to achieve the best alternative to keep the tradition of this 4th of July Celebration alive.  
We asked the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce Director, what were the steps in making this decision?  “Step one was communicating with the Corps of Engineers, leaving plenty of time to make adjustments to the fireworks plan. Shawnee Bend Swim Beach will be closed. East Bledsoe Ferry will most likely be closed, and the clincher was, we cannot shoot the fireworks off the dam this year because of the high water. Two, get with the City of Warsaw and all law enforcement agencies and gather input and information to best serve the community for this event.” Said Mac Vorce.
Looking back in history, the Dam Experience Fireworks first happened in 1981.  For the first time in 38 years, the fireworks will light the sky down river. Asking Chamber Director Mac Vorce, why choose this particular location? “With the levee trail directly across from Drake Harbor, the width of the levee, how far back the trees were, and the wetlands area directly behind the shooting area, all fit into the criteria needed by the pyrotechnic company to safely shoot off the fireworks. And, it sits directly across from Drake Harbor. I can visualize people sitting in the amphitheater, all throughout the grass pads, along the trails, around the point, all over MK White Park, where the disc golf course is  I can visualize downtown being very busy, all day long.  We just thought that is was a great “plan B”, instead of a cancellation.  After speaking with the Chamber Board, we thought this was the best remedy to a bad situation.”
From the perspective of somebody in the hospitality business, Khristina Brovelli from Nee Nee’s Italian Steakhouse, the move to a downtown fireworks show, is a positive one. “We are excited for it to come to Main Street. We are really glad it didn’t get cancelled.”  Jaime Lux of The Landing says, “We are super excited, we think it will be fabulous.” Warsaw City Planner Randy Pogue had this to say, “It is unfortunate that the fireworks had to be moved from Truman Dam, but the improvements that have been made to the downtown and the Drake Harbor Recreation Area are well suited as an alternative site. We just ask our citizens to show patience as the event concludes and traffic moves through the community. Working with the Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce, we can make this a pleasant experience.  
Vorce, addressing logistical issues, had this to say. “For safety concerns, we were worried about over weighting the Swinging Bridge, and we were prepared to close the bridge for the evening.  Mayor Eddie Simons suggested that it would be best to utilize the Swinging Bridge in honor of our First Responders, allowing them to utilize it for this event.”  The west side parking lot will be also be closed, being reserved for emergency vehicles.
In closing, Vorce had this to say, “It has been great to have all the organizations coming together.  I do believe that the Flood of 2019 has shown us that we just have to go with the flow.”