Festivities on the Fourth

A child lights one sparkler using another on the grassy field at the intersection of S. 4th and University on July 4, 2008. File photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily


A child lights one sparkler using another on the grassy field at the intersection of S. 4th and University on July 4, 2008. File photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

The Fourth of July is a time for fun festivities, but local authorities advise people to be safe and responsible during the holiday.

“Fireworks can be unpredictable,” said Cmdr. Mike Brennan, public information officer with Ames Police.

Since people are dealing with fire, they need to be careful and be concerned with the safety of people around them, Brennan said.

Marilyn Polito, director of emergency services at Mary Greeley Medical Center, said she believes it’s a matter of educating people to understand the dangers of fireworks. 

She encouraged adults to be the ones to set off any type of fireworks and believes adult supervision is key when children are present. The rate of firework-related injuries is not excessive during the holiday, she said, but the medical center always gets a few cases.

The injuries occur primarily from the hazards of fireworks and the misuse of them, she said. Injuries are usually minor, such as burns on the hands, and sometimes on the face, from a projectile exploding.

“Only about 1 percent of people injured require hospitalization,” she said, “Most of them are under the age of 15 and usually male, but some are up to the college age, around 20.”

Jerry Stewart, director of the department of public safety, said the absence of students during the summer months helps prevent injuries.

“Historically, Iowa State University has not seen injuries throughout the years associated with fireworks.” Stewart said.

The department will have a few more officers out on the Fourth of July, but mostly for traffic control, Stewart said.

The Ames Police Department won’t be any different, both from a man-power and enforcement standpoint, Brennan said.

Fines and charges for lighting off fireworks are up to an individual officer’s discretion. Criteria for citing someone for the illegal use of fireworks could include the setting, time of day, age of the person and his or her sobriety, Brennan said.

An officer could cease fireworks rather than give someone an infraction. A first-offense infraction is $50, and a second offense is $100.

During Fourth of July celebrations, fireworks have been accepted in the past but are still illegal. People tend to tolerate the noise but start to complain when it becomes excessive, Brennan said, adding that people should use common sense when shooting off fireworks.

He said the main reason fireworks are illegal is the safety issue.

He said the legislation refers back to the fire that occurred in Spencer in 1931 because of fireworks. A boy dropped a lit sparkler into a box of fireworks, which ignited the fire.

Brennan said he believes if fireworks were legal in Iowa, injuries would go up.

“As a parent and a grandparent, I’m glad to see it banned,” he said.

The department of public safety will have no variation in the approach to control problems over the weekend, said Gene Deisinger, associate director of the department.

He said they will respond to complaints and injuries but want to help people get in and out safely.

He suggested people limit their use of alcohol and be patient when trying to leave events.

Friday, July 3


After last race — fireworks, Prairie Meadows (fireworks will be on July 4 if there is rain)


5:30 p.m. — Kids parade starting on Main Street

West Des Moines

6:30 p.m. — Parade starting on 35th-Valley West Drive and Ashworth Road

Saturday, July 4


11 a.m. — parade in downtown Ames

Dusk — fireworks east of Jack Trice Stadium


9:45 p.m. — fireworks at Adventureland


Dusk — fireworks at Boone Speedway


10 a.m. — parade starting on Main Street

Dusk — fireworks at SCORE Park


10 a.m. — parade starting on Cherry St.

Dusk — fireworks at McAninch Sports ComplexSlater

10 a.m. — parade


2 p.m. — parade starting on Locust Street

9:15 p.m. — fireworks at Centennial Park

West Des Moines

Dusk — fireworks at Raccoon River Park Windsor Heights

1 p.m. — parade starting at Sherwood Forest Co.

10 p.m. — fireworks at Colby Park, 6900 School Street