Shelby Roberts, pyrotechnician, prepares shells for the July 4 show at Gardner Edgerton High School. Staff photo by Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor
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Gardner Edgerton High School was blazing with patriotism July 4 as hundreds of residents gathered in and around the school property to take in the community’s annual fireworks display.
The evening started with a tailgate party.
Dozens of residents arrived at the high school’s parking lot early to stake out a good spot to enjoy the fireworks and the end of a three-day weekend.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, weather-wise,” said Steve Devore, president of the Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.
As the sun began to set, the Bones, a trombone ensemble, performed a repertoire of patriotic songs.
The band paid tribute to those who served in the armed forces by playing a medley of each of the four branches’ songs.
The band then played “Amazing Grace” in memory of those who died in service to their country.
The “National Anthem” was performed as a finale, complete with “the rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” represented with fireworks.
As night continued to fall, the high school’s parking lot filled with tailgaters.
Motorists also lined the side streets for a view the fireworks display.
Hundreds of others watched from lawn chairs in neighborhoods in the surrounding area.
The 10-minute show included several hundred fireworks shells that lit up the night sky with elaborate displays.
Don Roberts, pyrotechnician, and his crew, started setting up for the show at 8 a.m. that morning.
Organizers asked attendees to donate items for “Shoppin’ For Joplin,” a local effort by Margaret Drovetta to collect school supplies for the tornado ravaged Reading, Kan. and Joplin, Mo. communities.
Four bins were set up around the high school parking lot for donations.
Drovetta said donations can also be made at bins set up at Gardner City Hall and the Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce office during normal business hours.
Drovetta said supplies are needed for grades kindergarten through 12, including paper, notebooks, crayons, pencils, pens, scissors, folders, paints, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks and binders.