One woman’s opinion of fireworks display


And the rockets’ red glare. The bombs bursting in air…

Every time I witness a firework show in person or on the television, in my head I hear old Aunt Bethany, from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” singing the national anthem. Her squeaky voice and cheery face make me smile. Somehow paired with fireworks, it gets my patriotic juices flowing.

So, after missing 2020’s local firework show, my husband and I were ready to watch the big show in our lawn chairs from our favorite viewing spot.

We were married on July 5 many moons ago, so we never miss a firework display. It kind of feels like all the booming and lights are for us. We’ve seen shows all across the nation on our annual anniversary trips, but we stayed in town for 2021, knowing full well that the shows here were high caliber.

First we experienced fine dining at the Plaza, then drove back to our hood to watch the extravaganza. We got to our viewing place 15 minutes early and found a great parking place. However, before we could set up the chairs, the sky sparkled with diamonds of colors. We thought it was strange to advertise one time but start early. Especially since most shows don’t go on for more than 15 minutes.

The firework show was great for about eight minutes, then a pseudo-finale shocked the crowd. You could hear various people in the dark talking about it being the shortest show ever. One gal in front us, said that was the 2020 show and budget cuts left us deflated. We laughed but in our hearts we were disappointed.

About 2 minutes later, another bright boom in the sky appeared. Oops! I guess they forgot one. But that was wrong. For the next five minutes, another portion of the show went on…after the finale.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo about the definition of a finale, or perhaps as my new friend in the dark said, “They had a midale! (a finale in the middle).” It was such an odd feeling to have watched close to 50 firework shows in my life and to switch the order around confounded us.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the display just stopped. We all were waiting for a bigger finale, or a “final” finale, but all you could hear were crickets from the nearby field. I enjoyed watching a large group of confused people.

For quite some time, no one spoke or moved from their seats. You don’t want to pack up before the big ending. But that was all. No more sparkling lights in the night sky. No more whistles and booms.

When I got home, I talked with family in a nearby Kansas town, and they said their show was a dud. I was already to argue ours was far worse since our finale was in the middle, but apparently theirs was much worse. According to my daughter, every firework took approximately 30 seconds to set up. Huge pauses between each boom and the worst part… no finale at all.

How odd to have two shows so different from years past. I just had to know how the other displays were throughout KC.

I turned on the news, but there was no information on any firework shows, just the destruction of public park bathrooms and lots of firework trash. I hopped on Facebook and instant messaged friends from all over the metro. I tried to get every area represented.

I heard back from 10 families. A couple of them had seen the one my husband and I saw, but not one of the others had even gone to their nearby town display. According to my (ahem) “sources,” most people just hung around with neighbors and blew up stuff.

I guess after sitting alone in their homes for a year due to the pandemic, most folks didn’t want to quietly sit in the dark one more night watching a fireworks display. And after last year, celebrating our freedom with neighbors around the barbecue grill with a cold beverage in hand, all while blowing things up, sounds pretty good.

Stacey Hatton is enjoying the summer but would love to hear from folks about their opinions of the firework displays at

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