Danedri Thompson
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Soggy weather didn’t dampen a fireworks display in Gardner on the Fourth of July, although the threat of inclement weather did have the pyrotechnics bursting in air earlier than organizers anticipated.

A member of the Shawnee Civic Band warms her saxophone before playing a pre-fireworks concert at Gardner Edgerton High School on the Fourth of July. The band is under the direction of Will Biggs, GEHS instrumental music teacher. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Originally scheduled for display right at dusk – or about 9:30 p.m., organizer
Karen Rumble, told The Gardner News prior to the event – the fireworks started booming near Gardner Edgerton High School shortly after 8 p.m.
As he was wiring up fireworks for the display Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor and pyrotechie, said the show would commence rain or shine.
The community saw neither during the display. Instead, Gardner residents crowded into the high school parking lot beneath a cloudy sky. Shortly after the display, the rains came.

Karen Rumble collects donations near the entrance to the high school Sunday evening. She helped organize the annual fireworks display, which included raising funds to pay for the pyrotechnics. She estimated that more than $6,500 was raised. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

The city of Gardner contributed $3,000 for the annual fireworks show, and the Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce fundraised to bring the total to between $6,500 and $7,000.
The funds purchased approximately 11 minutes of pyrotechnics.
“We solicited some of the businesses, and we solicited some of the philanthropic groups here in town to raise money,” Rumble said.
Rumble also hosted a hot dog luncheon at Patriot’s Bank the week before the holiday. The community was invited to buy lunch for $1. Price Chopper donated the hot dogs and accoutrements.
“And we had people actually drop by and drop some money,” Rumble said.
Gardner residents may also have noticed canisters at local businesses soliciting funds.
Rumble also collected donations during the celebration.
Fireworks were the main event, but those who attended also listened to patriotic music performed by the Shawnee Civic Band, under the direction of GEHS instrumental music teacher Will Biggs.
Rumble said it’s difficult to say how many people enjoyed the annual fireworks display.

Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, also holds a pyrotechnic license. He pauses during set up of the massive fireworks on the Fourth of July. The fireworks were wired up rather than lit using fuses. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

“There are a lot of people who watch them from their houses,” she said. “We have no way of knowing for sure how many people are watching from their driveways.”