Fort Scott Elk’s Club has been organizing the Independence Day Celebration for several decades for the community.
It is held on July 3 at the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.
“This really is a community event and it takes local governments, local businesses, and citizens that play in the fundraising golf tournament and donate, to make it all happen,” Bill Brittain, event chairperson said. “The Elk’s is really just the conduit that brings all of this together!”
“It started in the mid-1990s when another organization organized this and they stopped doing it,” Brittain said. ” I was on the city commission and possibly mayor at the time. The city manager at that time asked if the Elk’s would take this event over and we did.”
The following is from an interview with Brittain.
Who organizes and facilitates the event?
“The Elk’s have been in charge of organizing and raising the funds for the community fireworks for around 25 years! I have been the chairperson all of that time. The Elk’s organize the fireworks with funding help from the City (of Fort Scott) and (Bourbon)County!
When will it start and end?
“It will start at around 9:15 to 9:30. We pick the time when it gets very close, to make sure it is dark! The show lasts a little over 20 minutes.”
“A couple of years ago the city asked us to move the event to July 3rd because of congestion and trash with everyone out there watching (and) shooting their own (fireworks) afterward. So it is on the 3rd.
Will personal fireworks be allowed during the event?
“The city does not allow fireworks to be shot except on the 4th for
any other than this community fireworks display.”
Where is it held each year?
” They are shot off behind FSCC, back by the ball fields and people park along Horton and at the fairgrounds area. They have been shot there for as long as I can remember!”
Who will be lighting the fireworks?
“They are shot and come from J&M Fireworks which is a company that does this kind of displays.”
Tell about the Fort Scott Elks organization.
“We are very community minded and we try to do some things for Veteran’s,” Brittain said. “Some of the community events are of course the community fireworks, Christmas baskets
for deserving families, usually around 135, children’s Christmas party done by the Lady Elk’s which gives around 85 to 100 deserving children Christmas presents and a party, the children’s
fishing derby, the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner organized by Margie Schwalm and family. We host a variety of fundraisers for other groups…again we are very reliant on the community and citizens as well as our dedicated members!”
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the U.S.A. is a fraternal organization with a mission as stated on its’ website https://www.elks.org/who/missionStatement.cfm
“To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.”