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Your guide to an out-of-the-ordinary 4th of July in northern Johnson County

Cities across Johnson County have canceled or postponed their annual fireworks displays as COVID-19 spread concerns persist in the area.

Here’s a list of what types of fireworks are legal in each township, and where you can celebrate Independence Day.

General Guidance

Comeback KC sent out a list with some celebratory activities that are safe or moderately safe to engage in during the pandemic. According to the release, family picnics, backyard barbeques, a family bike ride or hike are some of the safest activities you can engage in. Other activities that are slightly less safe, but still OK are a small socially distanced cookout with some friends or a trip to the drive in movie theatre.

The list cautions against going out at all if you feel sick and instructs everyone to avoid large gatherings of any kind.

Overland Park

The city of Overland Park prohibits the use of “any device that produces a visible or audible effect through combustion or detonation,” a city news release said. This includes sparklers, roman candles and firecrackers, but excludes snakes and snappers.

Individuals found to be in violation of the anti-fireworks ordinance are subject to a $500 citation.

Overland Park plans to hold its annual Star Spangled Spectacular fireworks display in Corporate Woods Founders Park on July 4, but with some revisions. The usual food and drink vendors will not be available.

Lenexa

Within the city of Lenexa, it is illegal to “discharge” fireworks, a recent Facebook post says. Possession is also prohibited. However, sparklers, smoke bombs and “novelty items” are allowed. Individuals found to be violating this order could be fined up to $2,500.

From July 1 to July 4, locals can participate in the “Community Days Porch Parade.” Citizens and local businesses can decorate their porches or storefronts. Registered entries will be added to a virtual map and people can drive or walk around the area to view the displays.

Shawnee

City ordinances limit the “possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use” of all fireworks, including sparklers. Snakes and caps are permitted.

Individuals found to be in violation of the anti-fireworks ordinance are subject to a $500 citation.

Through July 11, the city will be displaying flags as part of its Flags 4 Freedom campaign in Veteran’s Tribute Park and at Shawnee Town 1929.

Prairie Village

Per city codes, it is illegal to “keep, store, display for sale, fire, discharge or explode any fireworks.” Some toy paper caps and other devices that contain less than “.25 of a grain of explosive composition” are allowed.

The city also cancelled its fireworks display planned for the Fourth of July in Meadowbrook Park due to uncertainty with the money needed to fund the celebration.

When the decision was made, Prairie Village City Administrator Wes Jordan said the city needed to focus on “providing essential City services during the COVID-19 response.”

Roeland Park

In Roeland Park, sparklers, snakes and cone fountains without a bang are permitted, but “any firecracker with more than 50 milligrams of flash powder” are prohibited, a city news release says. 

The city cancelled its joint firework display with Westwood and Fairway in an effort “to continue to stop and slow the spread of COVID-19,” according to a press release sent out at the time. 

Merriam

The “the sale, shooting or possession of any type of firework is prohibited in Merriam,” a city news release says. Fines can reach $500.

“We want you to enjoy your holiday without worrying about your safety or that of a loved one,” the release says.

Additionally, the annual Flags 4 Freedom event has been cancelled.

Mission

Assistant to the City Administrator Emily J. Randel said in an email that fireworks are strictly prohibited in city limits, but there are some exceptions. For example, sparklers, toy guns and other devices that use “paper caps which contain an average of .25 or less of a grain of explosive content per cap,” are allowed Randel said.

The city of Mission cancelled its annual Summer Family Picnic, which usually includes fireworks, at Broadmoor Park.

Fairway

Within city limits, fireworks of all kinds are prohibited, according to city code. This includes, roman candles and sparklers. Additionally, the selling or possession of fireworks is illegal.

Fairway will not be putting on its usual joint fireworks display with Roeland Park and Westwood this year.

“This was a hard decision for the city partners to make, but the decision was made unanimously recognizing that the safety and health of the community is the top priority,” a release sent out when the decision was made reads. 

Leawood

Leawood, like other cities in the area, has adopted the international fire code, which limits the purchase, possession and selling of all fireworks and related pyrotechnics.

Noncompliance with the local ordinance could result in a fine of up to $1,000, city code says. 

Leawood cancelled their Fourth of July fireworks display because of the pandemic. Some of the major concerns related to the price tag on the show and the struggle to find a suitable location.

“Being good stewards of our budget, I just cannot see spending $35,000 for this fireworks display when half the shells you couldn’t even see,” Ward 2 Councilmember Jim Rawlings said at the time. 

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Written by Angle News

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