Plans continue for July 4 celebration

SIDNEY — Planning continues for the July 4th fireworks display, scheduled to be held again on the grounds of Sidney Middle School.

“This year’s display will be similar to the expanded show that we had last year, maybe just a couple more shells,” Shelby County Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Sidney Bicentennial Committee Bob Guillozet said in describing this year’s show.

The annual event is again scheduled to be held on July 4 at 10 p.m.

“This year’s show will be the largest fireworks display ever seen in Shelby County,” Sidney Mayor and Shelby County Bicentennial Committee Co-Chair Mike Barhorst said. “Bob has once again used the knowledge he gained about fireworks in the years he served on the Sidney Fire Department to work with our vendor so that we could once again get the biggest bang for the buck possible.”

Guillozet was Sidney’s first deputy fire chief. One of the deputy chief’s responsibilities was ensuring the safety of both the technicians and spectators attending the annual July 4th fireworks display. As a result of schooling he received as part of his job, Guillozet learned a great deal about fireworks, something that was greatly beneficial in negotiating this year’s contract.

“The show will be a bit different from last year’s show,” Guillozet said. “We expect the audience to again be awed by the show.”

“A number of communities have canceled their shows as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Barhorst said. “Fortunately, because of the location, there is plenty of room for people to maintain social distance between themselves and other spectators, and certainly we would expect those watching the show to demonstrate common sense.”

“I’ve spoken to a number of mayors who have had to cancel their shows,” Barhorst said, “and while the cancellations are a result of the pandemic, not necessarily for the reason you might expect.”

“I spoke with the mayor of a nearby city this past week and was told that their show, like ours, is funded by community contributions. Many of their usual donors have been shut down for two months, and simply could not donate funds for the show this year,” Barhorst said. “I shared with him that’s one of the reasons I solicit contributions for the fireworks a year in advance. By the time we enter into the contract, I know how much money we have to spend and simply contract for a show that we can afford.”

Sponsors for this year’s Sidney Bicentennial fireworks display include Wilson Health, Emerson Climate Technologies, Buckeye Ford, NK Telco, Cargill, Ferguson Construction, Goffena Furniture, Mutual Federal Savings Bank and S&S Hospitality Management.

“Our community is truly blessed to have civic-minded partners who have stepped forward to help grow this annual tradition,” Barhorst said. “I hope that all those who enjoy the fireworks will take the time to thank the sponsors for their generosity to the community.”

“For the past three years, we have used High-Tech Special Effects for the July 4th fireworks show,” Barhorst said. “We have been pleased with the results. Randy Bast and his team have more than 30 years of experience in fireworks, flames, and movie special effects. As a result, the Sidney Bicentennial Committee has contracted with High-Tech Special Effects for this year’s show.

“They have worked on huge events,” Guillozet said, “including the 2005 Presidential Inauguration with George W. Bush, episodes of the popular television show Duck Dynasty, NASCAR events, the Memphis Grizzles and Houston Rockets of the NBA, the MTV Music Awards and World Championship Wrestling.”

“Once Bob (Guillozet) told us what he wanted, we sat down, put the order together, and determined what racks we needed,” Bast said. “When we get closer to the date, we’ll wire up the racks, get the products we need and fill out the paperwork to get on the road. We’ll drive the 10 hours from Memphis to Sidney, set up, complete the show and then tear down and drive home.”

“This is literally a once in a lifetime event,” Barhorst saod. “It is unlikely that anyone alive today will still be here for Sidney’s Tercentenary (300 year birthday) Celebration, but if they are, it is possible that those serving on city council then may try to outdo our effort!”

In addition to the fireworks display, the Sidney Civic Band will perform on July 4. The concert will begin at 9 p.m. and will feature patriotic music. Once the fireworks begin, the band will play a series of marches through the conclusion of the show.

“The band will set up on the tennis courts at Sidney High School, where they will have plenty of room to play following socially distancing guidelines “I was excited when I received the phone call that the band would perform,” Barhorst said. “For a host of reasons, I was not sure that they would be able to do so. Because the tennis courts are fenced, the band will be able to be separated from their audience, and there is adequate room for them to play and follow current guidelines.”

Those wishing to listen to the band are strongly urged to maintain social distance of at least 6 feet from others listening to the music.

“We simply ask that those attending the event exercise common sense,” Barhorst said. “It should be an outstanding evening. I can hardly wait to hear the band and see the show.”