With the drought claiming Independence Day fireworks celebrations in the metropolitan area like the Rodeo fire is claiming pine trees on the Mogollon Rim, organizers of the town of Marana's Star Spangled Celebration recommend people show up early for the town's event.
With only irrigated farm and park fields to worry about, the town's fireworks show is definitely on, said Randy Robbins, the town's recreation superintendent, but he said the town only has parking spaces for 6,000 cars.
"Once we get 6,000 cars, that's it," Robbins said.
There will be no parking in the neighborhood around Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, where the event will be held this year, or along the farm roads near to the town.
Robbins said Marana police will be out with their ticket books and followed closely by tow trucks to make sure the narrow two-lane roads stay clear.
The event has been held at the town's airport the last three years because of the ample parking provided there, but the lack of shade coupled with the heat radiating from the airport's tarmac and runways kept event goers sweltering well past sundown.
That won't be the case at Harn Park, as towering cypress and eucalyptus trees keep the park shaded for most of the day, plus the large park is covered in grass.
What's more, the park's pool will be open for the entire event with free admission. To give all those who want to swim a chance, there will be several swim times during the course of the evening.
Though quarters will be tighter, albeit cooler than at the airport, the event is just as big if not bigger than last year. Live music, contests and carnival fun and games are scheduled from 4 p.m. until the fireworks start at 9 p.m., with a country music concert to follow the fireworks.
The public is invited to bring coolers and chairs to the event, but alcohol and glass containers are not permitted.
Parking for the event will be in two large lots, one along the Interstate 10 frontage road east of the park off of Barnett Road. To get to this lot, exit I-10 at Tangerine and take the frontage road west (northwest, really) to Barnett. There will be signs and Marana Police volunteers to help direct traffic to this lot.
The other lot will be on Sandario Road just west of the Marana I-10 exit. To get there, take the Marana I-10 exit and cross west (southwest, really) under the freeway. The parking lot will be on the left. Signs and volunteers will also be directing traffic. Shuttle buses will take event goers to the park from the Sandario location.
There will be a $5 per carload fee to park.
If the fireworks show were to be cancelled, the other events would still take place, town officials said.
Schedule of Events
Main Stage Music
4 to 4:30 p.m. - DJ music and announcements
4:30 to 5:15 p.m. - East to West band
5:15 to 5:45 p.m. - 94.9 MixFM Karaoke Contest
5:45 to 6:30 p.m. - East to West band
7 to 7:30 p.m. - Mayor Bobby Sutton Jr.'s welcome, American music by Jack Neubeck and the Marana Sky Dive performance
7:30 to 9 p.m. - The Desert Cardiacs band
9 to 9:30 p.m. - Fireworks
9:30 to 11 p.m. - Country star Shannon Lawson
4:30 to 5 p.m. - Balloon toss
5 to 6 p.m. - Watermelon eating contest
6 to 6:30 p.m. - Sack races
6:30 to 7 p.m. - Hula Hoop contest
7 to 7:30 p.m. - 3 legged race
8 to 8:45 and 9:30 to 11 p.m. - Teen dance
Ongoing Games, Rides
4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Carnival rides, jumping castles
Ring the bottle
Ping Pong bounce
4 to 7:30 p.m.
Basketball 3-on-3 tournament
Bocce ball, Frisbee golf
FOOD BANK TO RAFFLE CAR
The Marana Community Food Bank is raffling off a 1978 Ford F-250 pickup truck and hopes to raise at least $3,000 to supplement its operations budget.
The raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25 and can be purchased at the Food Bank's offices, 11734 W. Grier Road, or at the facility's booth at the town's July 4 celebration in Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. For more information, contact the Food Bank at 682-3001.