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Laser light show will burst in the air





OBERLIN -- Dry conditions forced the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks shows across much of northwest Kansas a year ago. But a group of women in Decatur County decided it wasn't going to leave Independence Day plans to chance anymore.

A laser light show is being planned July 4 in Oberlin this year, and a group of firefighters' wives has organized a full day of activities leading up to it in order to bring people together to celebrate the patriotic holiday.

"We had a great number of help once the ball got rolling," said Teresa Diederich, president of Firefighters' Wives of Decatur County.

Along with providing a community service, the group hopes to be able to raise money for the county fire departments in Oberlin, Jennings and Norcatur.

"Our firemen were out constantly," Diederich said of late June and early July last year. "We had really large fires. They need money for fire trucks."

The wives group will sell red, white and blue glow necklaces during the evening, and the fire department is serving a freewill donation meal at 6 p.m. in the city park.

Other community groups have gotten involved in the event, including the Decatur County Area Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring a parade at 9 a.m.

"They've done a great job of doing all the research and putting all this together," said David Swank, president of the chamber.

Following the parade, activities for kids include bike races sponsored by the fire department, sidewalk chalking, root beer floats and pool activities.

Evening events begin with the fire department's meal at 6 p.m. and include activities for the whole family. The community band, including approximately 40 locals, will play, Diederich said.

Other entertainment for the evening still is being ironed out, much as the details for the laser light show. Diederich said she has been working on logistical details about where to do the show, which requires a lot of power and water availability. Regardless, people are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and shade structures and enjoy the day in the park, then stay for the show, Diederich said.

The show will begin at 10 p.m. and will feature images from Decatur County in combination with lasers and fireworks.

"I suppose if it takes all this planning just to get some rain," Diederich said with a laugh, adding if the weather holds, a separate fireworks show still could go on earlier in the week in Oberlin.

"It really takes the community effort to do it."

* Find more area July 4 activities at blogs.pixelpowerhaus.com/cruisingnwks.