This year will mark the seventh year the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce has sponsored a fireworks show for Clinton County. Last year, due to extreme dry weather, the show was canceled, but the chamber agreed to set off the fireworks during the Foothills Festival last October.
This year shouldn’t be any different than the first five years the program has been offered, minus one detail.
Kentucky State Police Officer Jason Warinner and his wife, Jennifer, came up with an idea to provide a little more awareness about those who have fought for our freedom.
From 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., Warinner will have a display set up at the fairgrounds containing photos, memorabilia and souvenirs from local veterans during their time of service.
“It’s just a way to try and give back to the veterans,” Warinner said. “We want to try and make it more known who the veterans are. If we are there for the fireworks show, it might make it something to build on.”
Warinner said he can be contacted by phone, 606-306-1197, or he will be at the fairgrounds on Thursday, July 4, at 3 p.m. if anyone wants to drop something off.
“We are just going to put tables up and if anyone wants to bring a photo of their grandpa by, from whichever war or part of the world he has been, then they can,” Warinner said. “We are going to label everything so people will know whose stuff it is. Anything they want to bring … uniforms, souvenirs either they brought or their family brought back. I have a lot of stuff from the Iraq War that I can bring out.”
Warinner wants to show what the veterans have given up during their service in the military. He served nine months in Bosnia and a year in Iraq. He also has a brother, Jimmy, who is in Jordan serving right now.
“I see the stuff I have at home and when people come over they seem really interested in it,” Warinner said. “It could be a way for some of the younger people to find an interest in the veterans.”
Adding the display of veteran memorabilia will be a great addition to the chamber’s fireworks show and by going along with the same theme, A Celebration of Freedom, it could be what the event needs in order for the chamber to expand the occasion.
“This might be a step to bring some of that stuff back. I can remember when I was a kid and they would have parades and bring tanks and all kinds of stuff,” Warinner said. “It seems now nobody wants to put forth the effort to do something like that. With this being the first year, maybe next year more people will see it and we can get more and more.”
With the building being open from 6 – 9 p.m., Warinner said he will stay with the items displayed until all of the items are picked up.
“If people want to pick up their stuff before the fireworks begin at 9 p.m., they can come and get their stuff. We will probably stay until around 10:30 p.m.,” Warinner said. “If people are worried about their stuff, we are going to be in there the whole time and we are going to rope off tables to where people can’t touch the stuff.”
With Warinner’s extensive military background, he said he is not doing this to be recognized himself, rather he wants the younger generation to realize why we come out and celebrate the Fourth of July.
“I always get the elbow from Jennifer, when we are in a place and someone asks for all the veterans to stand up … a lot of times I won’t stand up,” Warinner said. “There are a lot more like me. We didn’t do it for praise. We are not looking for glory, we just want to spread the knowledge. I am proud to be a veteran, but I don’t expect anymore. I think that’s how most people feel.”
Clinton County Chamber of Commerce President J.W. Collins said it’s going to be a great time at the fairgrounds this year.
“We have some special music going on throughout the day and the fireworks at dusk with the weather permitting,” Collins said. “We ran into some trouble last year, but it ended up working out pretty good. I think this year we are going to have good weather and hopefully everybody can come down to the fairgrounds and watch the program.”
Collins said the chamber has expanded on the fireworks this year.
“The chamber couldn’t do this without the help of our members,” Collins said. “It should be a good time. It’s a way for us to give back to the community and offer support during a fun time and fun holiday.”
One of the main goals for the fireworks display is attracting tourist into the City of Albany.
“Hopefully we can get some people into town for that weekend,” Collins said. “I think our fireworks rival any community around us and hopefully we will draw a crowd from out of town as well as those in town.”
With this year’s event being on a Thursday, Collins believes it will attract more spectators being at the end of the work week.
“Most businesses will be closed on Thursday and then a lot of people will take off work Friday so they will have a four-day weekend and they will be coming down to the lake and I think that will draw a crowd.”
Collins said the fireworks are not enough to bring people in from the lake. He said the chamber has to find something for them to do and that’s why music, food and this year’s veteran display will be set up at the fairgrounds.
Every year the chamber wants to expand on the event, but Collins said they need more volunteers in order to make the celebration an all day event.
“We wanted to rely on the fair board, but it’s really not fair to ask them to help with the event always being so close to the county fair,” Collins said. “The volunteers on the fair board just put in countless hours to make sure our county fair is a great event … Their plates are full. I would love to see a cornhole tournament, cruise-in and we’ve even talked about a Bar-B-Q contest. That’s something that is really hard to pull off with the limited number of board members we have. We need more participation from our businesses in the form of volunteers.”
As always, the event is free to the public and updates to the event can be found on the Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, as well as on their website at: www.albanyclintonco.com.