Hundreds stick through the rain at Freedom Fest in Springfield

Published: Jul. 4, 2017 at 11:04 PM CDT
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Hundreds of people watched one of the largest fireworks displays in the Ozarks despite the rain.

It's the third year Life360 Church has hosted "Freedom Fest." The Executive Pastor said they wanted to make sure on giving people the best fireworks show possible.

"We have about 200 members that make this event possible," Leo Crosby, Life360 Executive Pastor, said. "It would be impossible without them everything from moving the cars and smiling at them when they walk in to ensure no one gets across the parameter and blows up during the fireworks show."

The possibility of bad weather was on organizers mind before the performance, but they pressed forward. The only thing that could have stopped the performance was lightning or strong winds.

There was a line of people outside of the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds waiting for gates to open at 6 p.m. vying for a chance to get a good spot for the show.

People were funneling through the fairgrounds gate lawn chairs and some had umbrellas, and others didn't, in preparation for the big fireworks show.

Josie Pearson was the second person in line before the gates opened and she said the possibility of rain wasn't going to hold her back from celebrating the Fourth of July.

"To get a good spot for fireworks and to enjoy the evening with my best friend and her little sister," Pearson said. "I brought blankets, I brought an umbrella, I thought I brought an umbrella, but [I forgot] and just trying to beat the rain, hopefully, it won't rain."

The show was made to last 17 to 18 minutes and it took two days to set up.

A licensed operator for the show said people saw a lot of specialty items.

"There's so many hours that went into preparing this show way early on I think we started back in January putting the music together meeting back and forth with Life360 and just kind of putting on a patriotic fest for tonight's event," Maelynn Hessee, licensed operator, said. "You're going to see a lot of specialty items, some things that were specifically designed for this show, one of a kind items it's a pyro-musical display so everything is choreographed to music timed out perfectly. We don't hand light everything it's going to be electronically fired perfectly timed to the music you're going to hear tonight."

The wet weather sprinkled off and on, but during the fireworks show a steady rain poured down, but it didn't bother some people who came to celebrate Independence Day.

"It was really awesome, got rained on, but it was a spectacular show, it kind of makes you feel like a kid again, Tonya Dettling, fireworks viewer, said. "[They] got some Optimus Prime in there which is pretty cool, it was really awesome had to stand under chairs a little bit to stay kind of dry, it was great it was loud... feel like a kid all over again."

People left as soon as the show was over to get back into their dry homes, but other people stayed outside to tear down equipment and clean up the fairgrounds for at least an hour or two after.

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