Through protests and the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation, state and community have been attempting a semblance of normalcy. With the patriotic holiday looming, Salina residents can rest easy knowing that the 2020 Skyfire Fourth of July fireworks celebration in Salina will still occur.


The Salina Breakfast American Business Club is an organization that provides assistance to people with special needs, things like ramps, adaptive bikes for children and adults with mobility issues, scholarships for therapists and other assistance. Thanks to the AMBUCS, along with help from more than 80 other businesses and individuals, the fireworks display will occur Saturday at the East Crawford Recreation Area, 841 Markley Road.


"Attendees should see the largest display that Skyfire has ever put on," Skyfire committee spokesman Dave Tangeman said. "The show for this year will have approximately 60% more shells/fireworks than in past shows."


With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting social gatherings, the event was in danger of being canceled. In fact, at the May 4 meeting, the AMBUCS decided to scrap it for the year.


"A majority of the money we raise comes from the local business community, and with the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic we did not believe we could raise the amount of money we needed to put on this year’s show," Tangeman said. "The committee also felt it would be difficult to ask business owners to support Skyfire when most have had some economic impact related to COVID-19."


One of the members, Ken Guest, was approached by a number of community members who were disappointed by the cancellation. Those people put their money down to support Skyfire. In addition, AMBUCS created a GoFundMe for the event.


"The GoFundMe goal is $20,000 and today we are at $6,580, but that balance does not include funds that our committee has raised directly from the Salina citizens and business community," Tangeman said. "I am happy to report that the 2020 Skyfire show is funded with generous gifts from the Salina community that includes individuals, businesses, foundations and the city of Salina. The Skyfire committee is still asking for support and will use any excess funds for next year’s Skyfire display, which we intend to be even bigger."


The event is bound to be a big one, though with a couple of changes. While still being held at the rec area, because of construction on Grand Prairie in between Matson Field and ECRA Diamond No. 1, it will be held at the north end of Markley Road. That isn’t the only difference.


"This year will be the first time that the show is choreographed to a music track and firing is controlled by computers to synchronize the fireworks display to the music," Tangeman said. "Even prior to COVID-19 we were planning for a larger display, in years past the club has spent about $12-$15,000 compared to just under $27,000 this year for the annual event.


"Unfortunately, inflation was forcing the display to reduce the number of shells to stay within our budget. We decided that it was time to step up our game, and this is our second year of our plan."


Planners were motivated, but they also understood the importance of health and safety. They have been in constant contact with the Saline County Health Department for guidance to ensure a safe and happy Independence Day celebration.


"We discussed Skyfire with the county health officials, and while we cannot enforce social distancing, we are asking everyone that attends to observe social distancing and the current health recommendations in effect at the time," Tangeman said. "We believe that there is sufficient room at East Crawford Recreation Area for everyone to observe the recommended social distancing recommendations and enjoy the show."


The club has no doubt that this is going to be a fantastic year for Skyfire. In fact, the show isn’t the only thing they expect to break records.


"We believe that our attendance numbers may be among the largest we’ve ever seen, if not the largest ever," Tangeman said. "With so many events not happening due to COVID-19, it is our hope that folks will join us for a great show as we celebrate America's independence. There is plenty of room at East Crawford Recreation Area to practice social distancing and remain safe and yet participate in this annual event and celebration."


The event is a community service project for AMBUCS. All of the funds raised will go to the event and are kept separate from the club’s mission.


To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/skyfire-salina or visit www.salinaambucs.com.