July Fourth preparation boosts business and American spirit

Nearly 10,000 people are expected to pack John S. Stiff Memorial Park Wednesday evening for the City of Amarillo's annual firework show in celebration of the Fourth of July. Despite the number expected to attend, City crews were out at the park all day Tuesday setting up firework displays, Amarillo symphony staging, and getting ready for 25,000 viewers -- just in case.

The 22 TNT Firework stands set up around Amarillo have also spent time preparing for the big holiday. TNT Area Manager Frank Keplar said firework sales this year are about average, maybe even slightly up since people of the Panhandle area went without last year. Some stands are already sold out of certain types of fireworks, and expect to be very busy throughout the day on Wednesday.

"Everybody was kind of bummed out from last year so it'll be pretty good," said 28-year-old Amarillo resident David Brantley.

But, firework fanatics weren't the only people preparing this week. Grocery stores and liquor stores in Amarillo say they, too, have seen an increase in business as the Fourth approaches.

"Today, a lot of people getting off early, a lot of people coming in and getting their stuff earlier and starting out earlier," said owner of M&R Liquor Charles Leard. "So, a lot of long weekenders this week."

"Typically after everybody gets out of work the days leading up to the Fourth we get pretty busy," added Market Street Store Operation Manager Glenn Perkey. "Everybody's buying their ribs, their hamburgers, their hotdogs, all their cookout items for the celebrations."

Since the Fourth fell on a Wednesday this year, business owners weren't sure how and when sales would respond. Several said the weekend leading up to the big day was abnormally slow, however, the day before and day of should make up for it.

"With the Fourth being on Wednesday, the weekend wasn't quite as strong but leading up through today and tomorrow is when we're going to see the most of our business," said Perkey.

"It's right in the middle of the week," added Leard. "Last year it was on Monday so we knew it was going to be a big weekend. This weekend was kind of so-so, we're looking at this week so far has been really good and today especially."

Preparations and celebrations that seem to not only boost business, but also the spirits of the American people.

"It's for our independence," said Brantley. "Everybody needs to go out and celebrate a little bit, show their support."