JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Salute to America in Jefferson City kicked off Tuesday morning.
Salute to America is Mid-Missouri's largest Independence Day celebration. The 14-hour event included several activities. Two major highlights of the event are the 5k run and the Independence Day Parade.
Temperatures reached 96 degrees in the afternoon but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from enjoying the festival.
“We have had the enthusiasm going since six o' clock this morning,” Ester Rosner, an event volunteer, said.
“Everybody looks forward to the Fourth of July,” Alicaia Rodick, a festival participant, said. “I mean, I got my hat and sunscreen on. I think we’re from Missouri. We’re prepared for all kinds of weather you know. 100 degrees one day, 50 the next.”
But with the high temperatures comes a high risk if you are not prepared. That is why Salute to America's Chair Nicole Slusser said they urging participants to plan ahead with fliers and Facebook post.
“If people are coming out and worried about the heat there's plenty of places for shade,” Slusser said. “We encourage them to bring lawn chairs and water and we’re not discouraging water coolers or any of that.”
Ongoing drought conditions are also a concern across central Missouri but Slusser says that its fireworks show at 9:45 pm over the Missouri River is a great way for people to stay safe.
“I know we have been in a drought and they are going to be shot over the river," Slusser said. "It’s a great way of saving yourself money or catching your neighborhood on fire. Just come out and enjoy our fireworks.”
With a large crowd gathered in the area, the Jefferson City police department also took steps to ensure those who attended the event were safe. The police department partnered with the Capitol police department, and had around 20 officers scattered throughout the area.
Sergeant Andrew Lenart with the Jefferson City police department also told ABC 17 News that there were extra officers on the road looking for impaired drivers throughout the night. With the abundance of mass shootings in America that can happen during large gatherings, Lenart also noted that the department was ready to deal with an incident such as that, if necessary.
"...Make the public feel safe they know if something does happen, we're gonna respond to it quickly, Lenart said. "And we take, we do training every year on incidents like that, so we're confident that if something were to happen we could respond appropriately."