What to do on Independence Day: Students share Fourth of July plans

Manhattan residents prepare to celebrate their Fourth of July holiday by picking out fireworks at a stand near Tuttle Creek Boulevard on Sunday. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group)

As fireworks stands and patriotic decorations around town signal the upcoming holiday, Manhattan residents and Kansas State students are planning how they will spend their Fourth of July.

One of the more popular ways Manhattan residents choose to celebrate the all-American holiday is by attending the “finale that never ends” fireworks show in Wamego.

Wamego’s celebration of freedom is an all-day event including carnival rides, multiple concerts, a beer and wine garden and a parade.

Kara Holle, tourism and events coordinator for Wamego, said the event has been going on for more than 30 years. This year, they estimate numbers of 40,000 to 60,000 attendees.

The celebration begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday and goes until 11 p.m.

Another way to celebrate the Fourth is in Junction City at the Sundown Salute, deemed the “largest free multi-day” celebration of July Fourth in Kansas, according to the event’s website.

Held at historical Heritage Park, the event offers food and craft vendors, a Freedom 5K race and a rocking blues band in addition to a fireworks extravaganza.

For those wanting to stay in Manhattan, the Manhattan Municipal Band will continue its summer concert series, playing at 7:30 p.m. in City Park. For the holiday, the band will perform a special patriotic edition of its concert series.

Like many K-State students, Jensen Strasser, senior in psychology, will be heading home to celebrate the holiday.

“I’ll be going back to my hometown of Garden City, Kansas, for the day to spend time with my family, shoot off fireworks and eat food,” Strasser said.

Shannon Saville, senior in graphic design, said her plans are a little different this year.

“Every year, my neighborhood used to get together and have one big celebration,” Saville said. “We would cook out, spend time with family and friends and let the kids shoot off little fireworks.”

However, after a recent fatal accident involving one of her neighborhood families, Saville said she plans to just be with her family in her hometown of Wichita.

“We don’t have anything big planned, but we will continue to celebrate and light a few fireworks off in remembrance of our dear neighbors on a holiday they loved to celebrate,” Saville said.