4th of July watch location changed to Boot Hill conference center

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
Dodge City officials and staff of the planning committee for the 4th of July fireworks display, announced the return of the fireworks show for 2021. PHOTO BY CAMERON CLARK/USATNSYNDICATION

With the return of the Old Dodge City 4th of July Celebration, a change was made to the fireworks launch and watch location.

According to the City of Dodge City, the fireworks display will launch from the northeast corner of Mariah Hills Golf Course with the watch location moved to Boot Hill Casino and Resort Conference Center parking lot.

The fireworks will start at 10 p.m. with pre-show activities starting at 8 p.m. with performances by the 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas National Guard out of Olathe, Kansas, music by 97.3 FM and local food trucks on-site.

“We, as the planning committee, had to make a difficult choice last year to cancel the fireworks display and concerns over distancing during the pandemic,” said planning committee chair, Dodge City Fire Chief Ken Spencer. “This year, we plan to have it come back better than ever. We have a new vendor that has doubled the number of fireworks that will be launched during the display.”

The launch location will be better suited to allow the DCFD to shut down access roads on Comanche Avenue and Matt Down Lane to make a better route in the event the firefighters need to respond to a call.

“One issue we had with the display being held at the Roundup Arena was that spectators blocked some of our exits around the riverbed,” Spencer said. “Our fire crews are still on duty during the display and need to be able to respond to calls that may take place during the show. Moving the location allows us to shut off some streets, so we don’t worry about not getting to a call within our required response time.”

According to the city, by utilizing the Boot Hill Casino & Resort Conference Center Parking lot, the planning committee was able to partner with Boot Hill Casino & Resort and United Wireless Arena to bring back the celebration and make it more of an event than just a fireworks display.

“The United Wireless Arena and Boot Hill Casino and Resort Conference Center are happy to participate in Dodge City’s 4th of July Celebration,” said UWA executive director Chris Ragland. “It’s a great opportunity for the people in our community to celebrate together and enjoy the festivities that so many people have worked on to bring to Dodge City and Ford County.”

The 4th of July celebration fireworks display was made possible through donations of local businesses and individuals.

To make a donation, send funds to City Hall, P.O. Box 880, Dodge City, KS 67801. For checks, put Fireworks Fund in the memo and make checks out to the City of Dodge City.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com