Stevensville is having a Skate Jam and Fireworks Show on July 4 in Lewis and Clark Park.
Organizer Ray Smith said this is the fifth year he has organized the Skate Jam and the traditional fun continues, but without a barbecue.
“This year with the COVID situation we are doing a no-contact, socially-appropriate deli sandwich from Burnt Fork Market, chips and soda,” Smith said.
The Skate Jam will begin around 1 p.m., Ryan Labenske will be the Skate Jam emcee, Jeff Ament has provided prizes for skaters (skateboard, wheels and other skating swag) and the jam should conclude around 6 p.m.
“It’s a structured skate jam where the kids do the impressive skating themselves,” Smith said.
He said that Kent Smartt of the Fort Owen Ranch has helped arrange music for the evening hours before the fireworks.
“So people can come out, be socially distanced and listen to some good country music on their blankets,” Smith said. “Sometime between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. will be Nashville 406 and the event will be emceed and additional music provided by Bob Michalson. The fact that they are willing to do this is great and the community and local businesses stepped up. Farmers State Bank gave us $2,500 and was our biggest donor.”
The Big Sky Grub Truck will have hot dogs and popsicles in the evening.
The fireworks are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. and will be set off by the Stevensville Volunteer Fire Department.
“Jeff Motley, his wife Abby and son Trevor donate their time and expertise at no cost,” Smith said. “That is another town affiliation, our fire department.”
Smith said he had to spend money that would have gone towards a better fire work show.
“In all of the previous years, since I do this for the town, the town has wrapped me under their MMIA insurance and have forgone the permits fees and such,” Smith said.
But this year Smith was required to pay a $50 permit, $30 for electricity and $613.25 in insurance.
“Just because the mayor is being vindictive,” Smith said. “You would think that because this is for the community the mayor would want the town to be a part of it. You would think that with everything going on, we would put aside any differences and benefit the community as best we could.”
Smith defined the Fourth of July event at Lewis and Clark Park as a mask-optional socially-distanced event.
“If you want to wear masks that is great but we just want people to be social distance aware,” he said. “Come down have fun, watch some skating and listen to some music. We’ll have the fireworks brought to us by the businesses and members of the community.”
Smith said people are invited to bring their own food, especially in the evening.
“They may want to bring their own picnic basket, lawn chairs, and blanket, be socially distanced and enjoy the fireworks,” Smith said. “We are doing this as a non-alcoholic event but people can BYOB.”
Smith said he appreciates support from Bill Watkins of the Living Centre and Discovery Care Center, the Stevensville Civic Club, Bob Cumming, Farmers State Bank and the business and community of Stevensville.
“This is the first year I’ve taken over organizing the fireworks due to the issues with the mayor and such,” Smith said. “With all the COVID stuff, with everything shutting down I just felt this needed to go forward. I feel that we can do this in a socially responsible way. We’re ready to blow stuff up, let’s make this a great day.”
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