Panther Creek ending summer with a bang

August 31, 2018 | 4:07 am

Updated October 5, 2018 | 12:33 pm

Panther Creek fireworks | Photo by AP Imagery

This will be the first year Panther Creek Park will hold fireworks on Labor Day weekend on purpose, according to Daviess County Parks Director, Ross Leigh.

This year the Independence Bank’s Fireworks Festival at Panther Creek Park will be held on September 2 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m, with fireworks beginning around 8:30 p.m.

“We found not a lot was going on on Labor Day,” Leigh said. “And the City does a fantastic job with their show on July 4th. So we decided to move our display to Labor Day. It’s the unofficial close of summer.”

In previous years, the Family Freedom Fireworks Festival was held on July 3 at the west-county park, except when rain caused the event to be moved to Labor Day. Daviess County Fiscal Court partnered with the City of Owensboro last year for the bicentennial celebration, combining efforts to put on one large firework display.

“When we started fireworks 15 years ago, it was to help people know where Panther Creek Park was,” Leigh said.

According to Leigh, 8,000 to 11,000 people attend the show each year, which helped the County government see the event was sustainable.

“We know we are getting a bang for our buck,” Leigh said.

The $8,500 firework show at Panther Creek is sponsored by Independence Bank, with a title sponsorship of $3,500, leaving just $5,000 for Fiscal Court to cover.

Leigh says what makes the Panther Creek show unique is the location.

“It’s so dark we are able to do a display that is not as affected by light pollution,” Leigh said.

Because there is little light interfering with the display, the fireworks are only 350 ft. away from spectators.

Leigh says the darkness of the Panther Creek Park setting means his team can get away with using 3-in. shells as opposed to larger shows that typically use 6-in. shells, which saves the County money.

The firework show lasts just under 20 minutes, but families are encouraged to get to the park early as traffic along the Wayne Bridge Road entrance will be heavy. Live bluegrass music, food trucks, inflatables and pony rides will be available for families to enjoy.

No dogs or alcohol are allowed at the Family Freedom Fireworks Festival and families are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to sit on.

“Families make an evening of it,” Leigh said. “It’s part of their tradition,” even if it is September.

August 31, 2018 | 4:07 am

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