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Organizers prioritize heat, COVID safety for Fourth of July event in Kearney

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Posted at 9:53 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 07:51:51-04

KEARNEY, Mo. — With a heat advisory set to begin July 4 and COVID-19 cases still on the rise, organizers at the Kearney Fireworks Celebration say they have all hands on deck to keep attendees cool, safe and healthy while celebrating the holiday.

“To have something like this where people can get out and distance themselves and still enjoy music and other people, it's a good time,” said attendee Melody Nutt.   

Nutt says she thought the event would be the "perfect thing to get out of the house," especially since she enjoys eating cotton candy and spending time with her family.

But before heading out the door, she says she paused to think about the heat, COVID and general safety of her kids.  

“Safety first, honestly," Nutt said. "Really, for my kids, just keeping them close, keeping an eye on them."

Eric Marshall, director of parks for the city of Kearney, tells KSHB 41 keeping attendees cool was a top priority while preparing for a crowd of 6,000.

“Covered shelters, things like that. That way they can stay in the shade, concessions available, water if you're overheated,” he said. “Plus, we have all of our Kearney Rescue and Fire Protection District down here in case someone by chance would become overheated.”  

In a large-crowd setting, Ryan Marcotte, Marshall's assistant director, says he understands some families have questions about how their loved ones will stay safe.

“Uniform and plainclothes officers are here at all times, as well as volunteer safety agents," Marcotte said. "That’s just one thing that we stress — we just want everyone to have a good time and be safe at the same time."

Marshall believes crowds and heat shouldn't deter families from getting out and enjoying the 4th of July this year. 

“Multiple areas of parking where people can come out, still social distance from each other but yet be with their neighbors if they want to be or family members,” Marshall said.

Marcotte agrees the opportunity cannot be passed up.

“We encourage everyone to get back outside," Marcotte said. "It's been a long time, but your parks all across the city are open. They're made for you, they are your parks, so go out and enjoy them."

For a full list of Independence Day events across the Kansas City area, click here.