Payson's Fireworks A Go, 'No Matter What'

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July 4th.

That's the date Payson's fireworks and festivities will unfold above and around Green Valley Park.

Forget anything you may have previously read in these pages regarding the date of this event. It will be held on Independence Day itself.

And the fireworks will start lighting up the sky at 9 p.m. in rain, sleet, snow or flesh-frying heat, according to Payson Fire Chief John Ross.

"We will have fireworks, no matter what," Ross said. "The dryness of the area won't be an issue this year, because we're at a different venue. With the lake and the fact that it's a wide open area we're shooting them off from the dam on the west end of the lake that affords us a lot more safety than we've had in the past."

"We have a full schedule of fireworks," Ross said. "If we deem the wind conditions to be severe, we do have the opportunity to scale down the presentation by shooting off only ground-type displays, or those which don't go so high in the sky."

Just in case, there will be a platoon of firefighters at the ready, Ross said.

The timeline for the nonflammable portion of the festivities, as outlined by Payson's Special Events Coordinator Scott Smith, will unfold thusly at various areas around GVP:

2 - 3 p.m.: The FireQuacker 2000 Duck Race.

3 - 5 p.m.: Family activities, including tug-of-war contests, egg tosses, whiffle ball tournaments and more.

7 - 9 p.m.: Live concert at the amphitheater by Western Bred, winner of countless "Best Of" awards in the Valley for its brand of country music.

9 p.m.: Kablam, kablooey, ooooooh, aaaaaahhhh, pop, pop, kablam, oooooooh, aaaahhhhhhh ...

Although a bit of a parking crunch is expected, the situation has been eased by Stone Creek developer Dan Hellman, who has offered open permission for Fourth of July revelers to park in his empty lots near the intersection of Green Valley Parkway and Summit Road.

"Parking within the park is limited, and there will be no shuttles," said Parks and Recreation Department coordinator Beth Kreider, "so we are encouraging car pools."

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