WAHOO – Traditional activities will fill the day in Wahoo on the Fourth of July, but the day’s capper will come with a twist.
The community is again planning its Independence Day celebration. The popular daytime activities will make a return at their usual time and place.
In the evening, Lake Wanahoo will be the new home for the Vintage Ballgame and the fireworks.
Wahoo Chamber Executive Assistant Jennifer Woita said it’s something new worth giving a try.
“The NRD approached us about moving the fireworks to the lake and we thought let’s check out the possibility,” she said.
After checking with law enforcement, Wahoo Airport Authority and Wahoo Fire Department, the plan was a go.
Lower Platte North Natural Resources District Manager Eric Gottschalk said having Wahoo’s Fourth of July fireworks blast over the lake is something he’s thought about for years. Given the NRD took over operation of the recreation area this year, his dream became a reality.
“We’re excited to have to have it out there,” he said.
The east, day use side of the lake will be open to the public all day long. The west side will still require a park permit, but the NRD will not require one on the east side.
Gottschalk said the district just wants the public to come out and have a good time. But, a safe time is important too.
No one will be allowed to bring in or shoot off fireworks at Lake Wanahoo. There will be staff helping to direct traffic and parking as well.
The town’s fireworks display will be shot off from the lake’s midpoint breakwater. Gottschalk said the trail over the breakwater will be shut off for a portion of the day. Boats will be allowed on the water during the display, but there will be a barrier set up near the breakwater.
“We just want everyone to have a good time,” he added.
For those who always enjoy the Vintage Baseball match before the fireworks, that has been moved from Hackberry Park to Lake Wanahoo too.
Don Proett, who helps to organize the Wauhoo Plowboys vintage baseball team, admitted he wasn’t too sure in the beginning if the match would work at the recreation area.
Then, he made a trip to Lake Wanahoo and saw the area where the Plowboys will be playing.
“I got all excited when I saw it,” he said.
The big grass area near the two picnic shelters will mowed and turned into the ballfield.
Proett said this will be an authentic setting for the game that will be played by the “Town Ball” rules of the 1860s and 1870s. It will be authentic setting, he added, because they didn’t play on baseball fields back then.
“I’ve got the canvas bags we’ll bring out,” he said.
The game will start at 6:30 p.m. There may be a temporary bleacher set up, but those attending should bring along a lawn chair for seating.
The Wauhoo Plowboys will take on the Raymond Stompers, who lost to the Plowboys 12-6 last July 4.
“I think this could be really interesting,” Proett said.
Gottschalk said there will be at least one food vendor truck at Lake Wanahoo during the evening as well, and he is trying to get more lined up.
But while the evening activities have a new location, downtown will again be the spot for daytime activities.
The VFW Post and Auxiliary will again be serving up hot dogs, chips, drinks and cookies at Smith Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Registration for the Wahoo Eagles Kiddie Parade starts at 11:15 a.m. at the Vets Club. The parade steps off at noon and lands at Smith Park. Each participant will get a treat.
The Wahoo Aquatic Center be open from noon to 5 p.m. for Independence Day swimming fun.
The Wahoo Lions Club will start their Old Fashioned Games in Smith Park at 1 p.m. A long-standing tradition as part of the day’s fun, the games will include sack races, stepping stone races, egg toss and more. There are treats and prizes.
At the end of the day, the fireworks will blast off at 10 p.m. Woita said in case of rain, the show will be held on Saturday.
“But, we are hoping we won’t have to do that,” she said.