The Duncan Banner

June 27, 2013

Lighting up the sky with fireworks shows in Stephens County

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Duncan hasn’t held it’s own Independence Day fireworks show since 2009 and that won’t be changing this year.

There had been plans for one in 2010, funded by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, but inclement weather caused it to be canceled. It takes somewhere around $10,000 or more to put on a decent firework show, which has simply been beyond anyone in Duncan’s budget for the past two years, as well as 2013.

“It’s not in anyone’s budget to do because it’s getting too expensive,” said Sandy Stewart, director of investor services at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce. “We used to try to cover the fireworks but for the last one, it took $10,000 and prices have kept going up.”

Other entities, such as the City of Duncan also previously pitched in for the price of fireworks, but their budget didn’t hold any room for a show this year either.

However, Stephens County residents will have plenty of opportunities to see large fireworks shows for the patriotic holiday this year. The first one to take place will be Saturday in Bray.

About an hour before the sun goes down, usually around 9 p.m., Todd Pass and a group of men begin to shoot off parachutes for children until dark in the Bray Park. After sunset, the group of 20-25 guys orchestrate the fireworks show.

“We had done this for years out in a pasture east of Duncan and then moved it to Bray and a lot of people don’t know it’s the same show,” said Pass. “The guys out there shooting them get together to buy the fireworks and I’m just humbled by all these guys. I wish I could name every one of them.”

Many of the men have been a part of the show for 10 plus years and when it was moved to Bray last year to help raise funds to provide Bray Park with new playground equipment, they said yes. Last year’s show raised more than $800 and Bray City Council added in $14,000 to the project.

The equipment was put in last month and this year’s proceeds are planned to go to paying for a fence for the park. Though entrance to the show is free, donations are welcome and half of the proceeds from the concession stand, run by Velma Mayor Shawn Enloe, goes to the cause.

“It’s a blast for the kids and a really good show,” Pass said. “All the donations go to pay for the parachutes for the kids and to the park.”

If anyone has questions or would like to donate, Pass said to contact him at 580-641-0018.

On July 4, which falls on a Thursday this year, both Marlow and Comanche will host holiday festivities. Marlow starts its day at 9:15 a.m. with a “old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration” parade down Main St.

Parade line-up begins at 8:15 a.m. at MHS, except for horses, which will line up around the new City Hall building, 119 S. 2nd. For exact line-up information, call the Marlow Chamber of Commerce at 580-658-2212.

Trophies will go to Best Original, Best Modified, Best Decorated and Best Truck in the antique vehicles category, as well as Best Original Tractor and Most Unique Tractor. Best Decorated Bicycle ribbons will be given in age groups 7 and under and 8 and up.

First and second place trophies will be awarded in the individual horse division and the horse drawn division. Float prizes are given to first through third place.

Following the parade, there is the annual celebration in Redbud Park filled with activities such as live entertainment, arts and crafts booths, bingo and other games, rides and more. This celebration and the fireworks show, which will begin as the sun goes down, is sponsored by Marlow Lions Club.

“The Lions Club does different programs throughout the year to provide money for fireworks and it’s really a community support event,” said Ron Jones, president of the club.

“All the money from the event goes to the kids for eyeglasses, homes and scholarships. We have fun doing it and we have a big program for this year.”

Comanche’s events for the holiday are organized by the American Legion and funded by the City of Comanche. Activities annually include a baseball tournament, vendor booths and fireworks show. Festivities will be held under the shade trees near the Field of Dreams.

The baseball tournament will begin at 9 a.m. and at 10 a.m., announcements of hourly door prize winners will begin. There will be rides for children provided by S&S Amusements and live entertainment throughout the day.

“At 5 p.m., the American Legion will have a flag burning ceremony to show how to properly retire an American flag,” said John Williams, adjutant for the American Legion. “At 5:20 p.m., there will be the singing of the National Anthem, official raising of the flag and we are going to recognize some longtime veterans.”

As in Marlow, fireworks will begin just after sunset. Williams said if anyone is interested in setting up a booth during the day, there are still spots open and you can contact him at 580-467-3107.