Cars started lining up along Route J around 6 p.m. on Saturday in anticipation of the annual fireworks display that mark the end of the of the 31st edition of the Mark Twain Rodeo at the Warren See Spillway beneath the Clarence Cannon Dam.

Cars started lining up along Route J around 6 p.m. on Saturday in anticipation of the annual fireworks display that mark the end of the of the 31st edition of the Mark Twain Rodeo at the Warren See Spillway beneath the Clarence Cannon Dam.

This year’s fireworks helped launch a festive four-day July 4th weekend around Mark Twain Lake.

The parking lot at the north side of the spillway was packed, as was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lot and the M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center parking lot.

Meanwhile, a drive across the Lick Creek Bridge revealed that out on Mark Twain Lake, hundreds of boats were anchored, night lights lit and packed seemingly bow-to-bow as far as the eye could see.

Ralls County Sheriff’s deputies and Missouri Highway Patrol officers had the bridge on the Cannon Dam closes because it was in the fallout for the fireworks.

Parked on Route J about a half-mile from the dam, a family from Montgomery City was packed into the front of the boat they were towing, ready to end a day at the lake with the fireworks show, while people sat on the hood of pick-up trucks, packed into the beds of the trucks and watched from inside their cars.

Finally, at 9:30 p.m., with the last light from the sun creating an orange color in the low sky thanks to a cloudless evening, the first shots were fired for the nearly 15-minute display.

In the family boat, a young girl simple shouted, “Wow,” when the first of the fireworks lit the sky.

As twilight subsided, the fireworks were brighter and in the quiet of the night, the only sounds were of exploding fireworks.

Around 9:45 p.m., the showed ended in a traditional flurry of red and white rockets, exploding high over the lake.

Afterward, Route J experienced the on the real bumper-to-bumper traffic of the year and by 10:15 p.m., traffic was back to normal.