Lake Chamber working to fill July 4th void

The annual Mark Twain Rodeo is no more.

For 31 years, organizers of the annual three-day event drew thousands of people to the Warren See Spillway at the Mark Twain Lake Dam, to cheer rodeo athletes, eat lots of food and watch a closing night fireworks show.

But the event was a huge undertaking, and the organizers decided that after three decades, it was time to move on.

Now, the Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce, which was not affiliated with the rodeo, is looking to fill the void of activities around July 4th holiday week to give visitors a reason to flock to the area over the holiday weekend.

Chuck Herron, owner of Virtual Images and Design in Paris, and a longtime member of the Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce, said staging the rodeo was complicated project that was a great event for the area.

In a recent email to members, the Chamber sought input on whether it should move forward with a Saturday night fireworks show.

“The Chamber tossed around the possibility of providing a fireworks show this year,” read an email from Devyn Windsor of the Mark Twain Council of Governments, who administers chamber business. “Dustin Wasson, owner of South Lake Designs, offered to get in touch with his fireworks contact to help the Chamber deliver an entertaining show. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the Chamber the stamp of approval for this event to move forward.”

A fireworks show would cost about $3,000 to $5,000, Windsor said.

“It should be noted that this fireworks contact is willing to give us some bang for our buck, but it will cost the Chamber around $3,000 to $5,000,” she said. “In order to make this happen, the Chamber is hoping to partner with local businesses or organizations to help offset the cost of the event. Several have already expressed an interest in doing so. The show mostly likely would be on the Saturday night (June 30) before the 4th of July so it doesn’t compete with fireworks displays from surrounding towns.”

But the timing is important as the Chamber needs to make arrangements for the fireworks within the first several days of February.

Businesses or individuals who want to help underwrite the proposed firework show can call Windsor at 573- 565-2203.