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Salute to America Fourth of July celebration has plans in case of stormy weather


Event organizers for Salute to America said they are prepared to keep people safe in the event of severe weather during Thursday's celebration.

The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team is tracking storms that are expected to develop in the west and reach the Jefferson City area around 9 p.m. Showers and storms are also possible earlier, forecasts say.

Salute to America festivities begin at 2 p.m. at the Missouri State Capitol, with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. and fireworks planned to start at 9:45 p.m.

"The police department will be in close contact with the National Weather Service and we'll take their lead and we'll go by hour," event manager Taylor Wolz said.

Law enforcement will be placed in various locations around the area, including the Jefferson City Police Department, Capitol Police, EMS and the Jefferson City Fire Department.

"If we did just have a spot up of severe weather, they'll be able to help direct the crowd to finding a safe place to where they can wait out that storm," Wolz said.

Jefferson City Fire Division Chief Jason Turner said certain locations have been mapped out for law enforcement to direct people to, if necessary.

"We've got areas that we've looked at to make sure they are readily available, easy to access during the holiday to make sure that we have a place that we can funnel those people to with severe weather," Turner said.

Wolz said there have been many safety meetings in preparation for Thursday's event. She said any updates throughout the day will be communicated to festival-goers from the stage and through radio sponsors.

Patty Bates and Mary Diemler attended Thursday's event and said they would be thankful for rain just to cool down the temperatures.

"It's a great thing they put on here," Bates said. "Celebrate the birthday of America and support all of our people in the uniforms of any kind."

Organizers are also prepared for heat, along with storms. Wolz said Missouri American Water has donated a trailer for people to refill water bottles, and there will be tents around to get people out of the heat.

She said the event is expected to bring in around 10,000-15,000 people, and people are encouraged to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and wear walking shoes. Turner said people should keep an eye on each other and make sure children are accounted for.

Festival-goers will be a safe distance from the fireworks setup, as Wolz said fireworks are being set up on the other side of the Missouri River than the Capitol.

Turner said they will be set off by a licensed fireworks shooter, with emergency crews on standby. He said the Missouri River Bridge pedestrian access and Adrian's Island will be closed during the firework show as a precaution.

Other events at Salute to America include live music, food and craft vendors, kids activities, classic cars and a parade. Wolz said food vendors will be set up rain or shine.

"I really have no concern when it comes to our safety of our patrons, because we do have fantastic law enforcement that think of everything they possibly can to make sure that our events are safe and that everybody still gets to have fun," Wolz said.

According to the event's website, parking is available at the State East Parking Garage, state and city parking lots, off-street parking on East McCarty Street, Capitol Avenue east of Adams Street, East Miller Street and Madison or Monroe from the Expressway to Wall Way.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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