Exeter fireworks, concert moves to Veterans Memorial Building

Exeter Lions Club moves fireworks viewing and celebrations to the Veterans Memorial Building to allow for a larger show for a wider audience

EXETER – This year, the Lions Club will host its independence day celebrations at the Veterans Memorial Building instead of its usual location at Dobson Field.

The free celebration in Exeter will be from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 2, and will feature vendors, food and a concert before the fireworks show at dusk. Exeter Lions Club president Jacob Johnson said fireworks should begin around 9:15 p.m. and will be shot off from Dobson Field.

“We believe that this year provides an amazing opportunity to celebrate America with family and friends for three days,” Johnson said.

Exeter will have fireworks on Sunday and a similar event and fireworks show will take place in Woodlake on Monday, Johnson said. He said people in the community could then stay home on the Fourth of July “and purchase fireworks from local stands who rely on the funds raised from the booths for their groups to continue the great work that they do.”

Johnson noted the celebration is no longer at Dobson Field because, after needing to close the field to the public during the pandemic, the Lions Club learned that if they had more space to launch larger shell fireworks, then the whole city would have an opportunity to see the fireworks without leaving their homes, if they opted for a night in instead of going out.

“When things opened up again, we decided that this option with higher fireworks was the better option to serve the city as a whole rather than just the few thousand that could get in Dobson Field,” Johnson said.

Joe Barss, the Lions Club’s immediate past president, added that with larger shell fireworks, the fire department requires there to be a bigger blast radius that encompasses the whole park. Barss said they chose to hold the celebration at the Veterans Memorial Building this year instead of at City Park, where it was last year, because it provides a closer view of the fireworks and has more open space for the concert.

“These decisions were not made lightly, as Lions have been a part of the Exeter community since the 1930s, we have great respect for the history and tradition of Exeter,” Johnson said.

The Lions Club celebration will include food trucks, a beer garden, activities for kids and a free headlining performance by country musician Easton Corbin. Barss said popular local cover band No Strings Attached will also perform earlier in the day.

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