By Stan Schwartz
LADDONIA—If you were looking for a spectacular fireworks display in mid-Missouri for our nation’s 4th of July celebration, then Laddionia was the place to be Sunday night. Actually, Laddonia was the place to be all weekend long, as the town was also celebrating its 150th birthday, as well as its 69th annual fireworks display for Independence Day.
Activities took place mostly at the Laddonia ballpark.
There was an Honor Flight Breakfast, a 5K run/walk, a craft and vendor show, a corn trailer, and kiddie cars open cuties contest. There was also a kids’ color run, as well as barrel train rides, and POET set up a Fun Zone for the area’s children. No 4th of July celebration would have been complete without a fast-pitch tournament and a pie contest. Throw in a little horseshoe tournament, and you have the makings of a truly fun weekend.
Everything culminated Sunday evening with one of the largest fireworks displays Laddonia has ever had. Glenn Jensen staged the fireworks outside of town. People started gathering early, filling in every space available on the south side of town in anticipation of what was to come.
In the parking area for Robnett Farms, friends and family of the Robnett’s set up their chairs in a giant L-shape looking off to the edge of town. Cars and trucks filled their small parking lot off or Rt. KK. Jay Robnett said they didn’t mind the people parking in his family lot as long as they didn’t make a mess. Jay works the farm with his brother, Jon and their father, Ken. Jon is the head of operations for the farm.
There were more than 20 people in their group eagerly awaiting the pyrotechnic display that was to come.
This was going to be the big one; “$25,000 worth of fireworks,” Jay said. “They went from 5-inch mortars to 12-inch mortars this year,” he added. “They used to (shoot them off) right here in town,” he said. But when they went to the larger-sized mortars, the launch point was moved a quarter-mile outside of town.
“Heck, you probably could see them from Vandalia,” Jay added.
He also noted how good the parade was earlier in the day.
“They brought a bunch of tractors down here,” Jay said. “It was a nice turnout. This is the one time of the year this little city really shines. They always put on a good fireworks show.”
Small amounts of fireworks were going off all around the area, set off by families having their own celebration. On the ball field live music was being performed for those still in the stands. After the live music was done, the crowd was invited to move out onto the ball field and set up their chairs and blankets in preparation for the fireworks display.
Glen Jensen and his family did a fantastic job with their fireworks show. After the finale finished the crowed erupted into a cheer.
Getting back onto Hwy. 54 was slow going for some, but most everyone was willing to let waiting drivers coming out of the parking lots and side streets so everyone could get home.