Local residents wanting to celebrate our country's independence don't need to venture far. They can celebrate in Cherokee Village.
The annual July 4th Fest sponsored by the Cherokee Village Business Association, is set to kick off at 7 p.m. with a boat parade. CVBA President Melissa Smith said there are usually an average of 15 boats in the parade. The boats are all decorated patriotically -- the sky is the limit. Those wanting to enter their boat in the parade must do so by contacting Thunderbird Marina by July 3.
Then just 45 minutes later the crowd will be entertained with music performed by the Northeast Ozarks Community Band.
The highlight of the night is set for 9:15 p.m. with the annual 25-minute fireworks spectacular, said co-chairman Steve Rose.
The association hired Cosmic Inc. of Poplar Bluff, Mo., to shoot the fireworks. The local representative is Kent Jones of Mountain Home, a local licensed pyrotechnic.
The fireworks cost roughly $10,000 each year, Rose said. The cost is paid for strictly by donations from businesses and individuals.
The fireworks were provided by the Cooper Company for decades before the Cherokee Village Business Association took over the event in 1992.
"It's been going on ever since I can remember," Rose said.
Attendance is always good but is usually better when the 4th of July falls on a Friday or Saturday night. It isn't uncommon for the show to bring 3,000 to 6,000 spectators depending on what other events are occurring in the area.
The show is visible from many locations in Cherokee Village; however, the most popular spot is at Lake Thunderbird Marina.
From there spectators can sit in their lawn chairs they bring from home or catch a spot on the dam and watch the boat parade and then the main attraction -- the fireworks. Water will be for sale along with hot dogs, snow cones and souvenirs.
Eagle Pest Management will spray the dam for ticks and other bugs to make things more manageable for the public. The public is not allowed at the west end of the dam. That is where the fireworks are shot from.
Rose said he books the show in late October or early November each year for the next year.
"We try to get them thinking about it," he said.
The festivities don't end there. The next night, the CVBA will host the 6th annual Firecracker Street Dance in Town Center from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Smith said.
B&G DJs will provide the music for the event but that isn't all. There will also be a cash drawing and goodies for sale, Smith said. All of the proceeds go toward the 2009 July 4 fireworks.
The Cherokee Village festivities are the only ones planned in Sharp County this year. Hardy had planned to have its Old Time Picnic and Water Fun but it has been cancelled due to the flooding in Loberg Park from the spring storms.