It’s no coincidence that the fireworks shows in Heber Springs, Greers Ferry and Fairfield Bay are on three different nights.
Ginger Lewellyn Harper, executive director of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, said the communities and chambers got together last year “and made sure [their fireworks shows] weren’t conflicting because everybody wants their event to do well.”
Greers Ferry will have its celebration on Thursday; Fairfield Bay will have activities on Thursday, but the fireworks show will be Friday; and Heber Springs will light up the sky on Saturday.
Tim Marshall, president of the Greers Ferry Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said the idea is to keep visitors entertained for three days, as well as offer residents more chances to see fireworks.
“When [visitors] come to the lake, we want them here for three solid days, and they can watch fireworks] for three nights,” Marshall said.
He said the fireworks are launched from Greers Ferry City Park, so no boats are needed.
“We always do ours on the Fourth,” he said. The three adjacent chambers got together and “decided let’s start working together so we don’t have anything on the same night for any event. … We want everybody to come to everybody’s thing.”
The Greers Ferry celebration will start at 11 a.m. with food vendors and arts and crafts booths in the park.
“There is a water feature for the kids and a bouncy house,” Marshall said.
The fireworks will start at dark, about 9 p.m.
“We always have a great, great show; it’s a solid hour,” Marshall said. “You’re right there on top of it. You can feel the percussion on some of [the fireworks] when they go off. The kids, they like it, and there are swings and a merry-go-round and slide.”
Jackie Sikes, executive director of the Fairfield Bay Chamber of Commerce, said the Independence Day on Thursday is packed with activities, but the grand finale of fireworks will take place Friday. The Fourth of July events are coordinated by the chamber, the Fairfield Bay Community Club and the city.
The activities will start at 8 a.m. July 4 with a Lions Club all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, which ends at 10 a.m. It will be at 365 Dave Creek Parkway. A parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Fairfield Bay Baptist Church, 481 Dave Creek Parkway, and go to Woodland Mead Park, 522 Dave Creek Parkway, where there will be activities and a car show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tom Sawyer Days, which has been held the past couple of years, is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. at the Heritage Center near the Indian Hills Golf Resort, Sikes said. It’s a re-enactment of an 1850s pioneer village.
“Each year is getting bigger and bigger,” she said of the festival. “It takes you back to the Tom Sawyer days. We have re-enactments, storytelling, crafts, music, watermelon and lemonade right there at the [Heritage Center] Museum.”
Sikes said that last year, she dressed as a Native American and made “God’s eyes.” She said they are similar to dream catchers and are made with yarn woven around two sticks. The Native Americans used them to “ward off anything bad,” she said.
“Kids sat on a blanket with me and ate watermelon, and we made God’s eyes,” she said, adding that she isn’t performing this year.
A volunteer will dress in period clothes and read stories on the front porch of the Heritage Center Museum, Sikes said. “The buildings are historic, and the museum is housed in one of them. The other is an old homestead you can walk in and see.”
Pickin’ on the Square, a group of Clinton musicians, will perform on the museum grounds, too, she said.
On Friday, a fireworks display will start at dark at the Fairfield Bay Marina.
“That’s huge,” Sikes said, adding that people are encouraged to get there early.
‘The lake is packed. What’s really neat is all the boats are lit up at night — all the water is lit up from the boats, and the sky lights up from the marina. It’s a very nice fireworks display.”
The Fourth of July festivities will continue Saturday with a golf tournament. Registration will be at 7 a.m. for the Red White & Blue Golf Tournament, which has a shotgun start at
8 a.m. at the Indian Hills Golf Resort. The cost for the four-person scramble is $50 per person or $200 per team.
The ShotGunBillys will perform from 6-8 p.m. at the marina.
In Heber Springs, Harper is new to the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, so it’s her first year to be involved in the planning of the Fireworks Extravaganza. However, she grew up in Heber Springs, so she has attended the event for “many, many years,” she said.
“I’ve watched it on the lake and on land, and it’s always very good,” she said of the fireworks display.
The festivities have been moved from Sandy Beach to Dam Site Park, 315 Heber Springs Road N. this year because of recent heavy rainfall.
“We did have to move it from Sandy Beach because the water is too high there,” Harper said. “The water is high at Dam Site, but under the circumstances, it’s a better situation to have it. I’ve heard people say [the fireworks are] great at Dam Site Park as well. I’ve heard people say they love it there.”
The festivities will start at 10 a.m., when attendees start arriving by boat and car, and food vendors will be there by noon, if not before, Harper said.
Although the Fireworks Extravaganza is free, a $10 donation for parking will be accepted.
“The Boy Scouts are going to help us with the event,” Harper said, including parking and putting up signs and banners.
A portion of the $10 will go to individual Scout accounts in troops 200 and 220 to pay their way to camp. The remainder will be put toward future Fireworks Extravaganza events to ensure their success, Harper said.
The band Just Sayin’ will perform at 7 p.m., and Harper
said the group is popular. “They played here recently at our Springfest,” which is not a chamber event, she said.
The fireworks, which are choreographed to music, will start at 9:30 p.m., and the display is billed as one of the larger in Arkansas.
“It’s a big deal,” she said of the Fireworks Extravaganza. “It’s our largest event of the year; it brings a lot of people in. Of course, Heber Springs in the summer, we bring many people in anyway for camping and the lake.”
And if people come early, they can celebrate the nation’s birthday again and again and again.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or email@example.com.