Organizers are gearing up to light the evening skies once again at Apogee Stadium.
The annual Fourth of July fireworks show, sponsored by the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club, has been a Denton tradition for 42 years, and officials say it’s not going away any time soon. Entertainment inside Apogee kicks off at 6:30 p.m., with live fireworks set to music beginning at 9:45 p.m.
Hank Dickenson, lead fireworks organizer and deputy director of athletics at the University of North Texas, said the move from Fouts Field to Apogee Stadium last year received outstanding positive feedback and that roughly 10,000 to 15,000 were in attendance.
With July 4 falling on a Friday this year, Dickenson said he expects a much larger crowd.
“Depending on where you are sitting, you not only can see the fireworks from Apogee but several around the metroplex,” Dickenson said.
Parking is not free at Fouts Field like it was last year, and organizers said that’s the only change they have made. All parking at both stadiums will cost $5 per car, and proceeds after expenses will be given to the Kiwanis Children’s Clinic, organizers said.
The Denton County Kiwanis Children’s Clinic provides low-cost and no-cost medical, dental and prescription assistance to disadvantaged children in the Denton area.
Organizers said the paid parking at Fouts will help them recover their expenses faster and hopefully bring in more money to the Kiwanis Club.
The “bucket brigade” will be walking around the area collecting donations for the clinic, as well.
UNT police Capt. Jim Coffey said spectators will trickle in during the day, but as soon as the last mortar round goes boom, gridlock begins on the way out.
“If people could just relax, tailgate a bit or take their time getting to their car, that would help us handling traffic quite a bit,” Coffey said. “Everyone jumps up to leave all at once, and that causes a major 30-minute gridlock all around the stadium for everyone.”
He said officers from the UNT police, Denton police and Denton County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to direct traffic and patrol for security purposes.
“Our main focus will be on those main intersections right near the stadium,” Coffey said. “We will have officers directing traffic at North Texas Boulevard, Bonnie Brae [Street] and Interstate Highway 35[E].”
Organizers said gates open at 5:30 p.m. and they encourage the use of the pedestrian bridge for those parking at Fouts Field to ease traffic congestion.
“It’s a great way to celebrate and kick off the holiday weekend,” Dickenson said of the event. “We can’t put this on without the help of our sponsors and the city of Denton. We want everyone to have a good time, and all help is appreciated.”
For more information, visit the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club website at www.dentonkiwanisclub.org.
MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.