OSAWATOMIE — A fireworks extravaganza, a concert, a parade, a 50-foot water slide and a drawing for a Patrick Mahomes-autographed football are some of the highlights planned for the community’s annual Lights on the Lake celebration.
The 2021 version of Lights on the Lake will begin with a parade in downtown Osawatomie, starting at 7 p.m. Friday, June 25. The theme this year is “80’s Hits”. The parade is being organized by Kari Bradley, executive director of the Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce.
The celebration moves into high gear at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at Osawatomie Lake, culminating with the biggest fireworks display ever staged at the event.
Lights on the Lake will feature 11 giveaway packages. The top two packages are a Patrick Mahomes-autographed Super Bowl 54 football and display case valued at $1,500, and a family four-pack of tickets and parking pass for the Garth Brooks concert Aug. 7 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Winners of the giveaway packages, which range in value from $100 to $1,500, have to attend the event.
Lights on the Lake is free, with a recommended donation of $20 per vehicle. Each vehicle will receive a booklet with two free tickets for the drawings. Additional tickets can be purchased for $10 apiece at the white tent in the concert area.
“Osawatomie Community Fund is doing giveaways to encourage people to come out to the event,” said Christle Macek, Lights on the Lake board member and event manager. “The only way you can get tickets is if you show up. Proceeds from the drawings will go towards community betterment projects through the Osawatomie Community Fund.”
The 2019 event attracted over 3,000 people, and organizers are anticipating attendance could double this year. They encouraged people to come early because parking will fill up fast.
A couple of reasons attendance could top 6,000 are the Patrick Mahomes-autographed Super Bowl 54 football and the larger-than-normal fireworks spectacular.
“I don’t think you can even purchase them anymore,” Macek said of the coveted football. “I think it’s completely sold out now. We bought it (in 2020) because we were going to do this last year and then Covid hit. The football has doubled in value since we purchased it last year, so I think it will be a real collector’s piece.”
The 2020 Lights on the Lake celebration was scuttled because of the pandemic. That cancellation accounts for the larger fireworks display this year.
Fireworks for the 2020 display were purchased pre-pandemic last February in order to receive a price discount.
“Since they had already purchased the fireworks they went ahead and kept those in contingency and then we have this year’s budget too, so we were able to combine two budget years worth of fireworks for this display,” Macek said.
Lights on the Lake will offer some new items in the bounce equipment, she said.
“We’ll have a 100-foot obstacle course and a new toddler unit that’s just for the little tykes,” Macek said. “And we’ll have the 50-foot water slide back again this year. That was huge in ’19 — it was very popular.”
The celebration will feature several food vendors.
“Bull Creek BBQ, Humdingers, and The Juan and Only are our savory vendors, and then are sweet-treat vendors include Knights of Columbus and their funnel cakes, Legacy Shaved Ice with snow cones, One More Scoop with ice cream and Colborn’s Kitchen will serve homemade pies,” Macek said.
The concert will begin about 6 p.m. with Tanner Foulk as the opening act, followed by Groove Pilots and closing with the M-80’s, a 1980s tribute band.
The fireworks will start at 10 p.m.
Parking is being handled a little differently this year.
ParkIt Valet and Parking Services of Kansas City, Mo., will guide all traffic into the horse arena. ParkIt representatives will be on site until 9 p.m. Macek said there will also be a special parking area for handicapped guests.
Gator-type utility vehicles will shuttle people from the horse arena to the concert area to assist those who might be carrying chairs, blankets and other items, she said.
Macek emphasized parking will not be allowed on the roads this year and all traffic will be funneled into the horse arena.
“If you’re just doing fireworks you can go anywhere around the lake, you just can’t park on the roads,” she said.
Several events will occur Saturday morning before the main celebration kicks off in mid-afternoon.
A 5K run is slated for 8 a.m. at Osawatomie Lake. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. at the shelter house. A baby contest will take place at the Osawatomie High School auditorium, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tennis clinics are planned for 9 a.m. at the Karl E. Cole Sports Complex.