Platte City’s July 4th Celebration draws large crowd
Two in a row.
For the second straight year, a July 4th Celebration in Platte City filled the downtown square with area residents eager to partake in family-friendly activities and take advantage of free meal offerings provided by the City of Platte City.
Mayor Tony Paolillo says he received several estimates listing the crowd size during the four-hour event as between 1,800 and 2,200 people. The first daytime downtown July 4th celebration in Platte City was last year, and crowds of similar numbers were estimated for that one. The event was so successful in 2021 that city leaders decided to bring it back on an annual basis.
“I tend to agree with the higher estimates,” Paolillo said. “I was there all day and Main Street was full the entire time.”
The mayor, in fact, was there the entire time, from start to clean-up. In addition, he was the first of several local volunteers to serve in the dunk tank, where throwers of all ages aimed their best fastballs at the target to send the mayor for a swim. Paolillo was on the plank from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
“Platte City is small town and we do small town family events well,” the mayor remarked.
City officials pointed out that attendance was high enough that all of the lunch vendors ran out of food, “even though we had planned for more people than last year,” Paolillo said.
The city says more than 1,500 meals were served at no cost to attendees by three food trucks, a hot dog stand, and an outdoor stand for La Cabana Mexican Restaurant outside its business across from the courthouse. The food trucks were Big Daddy and Sons BBQ, Jadabay’s Tasty Kitchen and Highway 92 Food Service.
As stated, this was the second year for the downtown July 4th event. The initial event in 2021 was an opportunity for the community to come together in a safe outside event for the first time since the COVID pandemic began in March of 2020.
“The city had really intended last year to be a one-time event to give the community an opportunity to come together and enjoy themselves,” the mayor said. “It was so successful that we held it again this year.”
Paolillo explained there was a big behind-the-scenes difference that might not have been visible to the public at large.
“A big difference between the two events was the amount of community involvement in putting it together this year. The first year was planned on very short notice and was worked almost entirely by city staff. This year’s event had a lot more community members sponsoring and working all day,” the mayor said.
An annual festival of this size would be too much for city staff to handle alone, city officials pointed out.
“It could not continue as a city only festival, so it was great to see the community step up and take a larger role,” Paolillo said.
One major difference this year compared to last was the effort put toward the event by the Platte City Chamber of Commerce.
“The chamber of commerce was a major player this year, we could not have done this without them. Tricia Fridell, chamber executive director and the rest of the chamber staff all worked, as well as their families,” Paolillo said.
Paolillo said the chamber also did a great job of finding business sponsors, including Patty Farr/Re-Max House of Dreams, Nodaway Valley Bank, North American Savings Bank, Central Bank, Keller-Williams Edlin Team, Opus Group, Alliance Consulting and Fit for Core by Amber.
The downtown event ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Street. The Platte County R-3 School District provided shuttle bus service from the high school throughout the event.
There were a lot of family-friendly activities, including a bounce house, dunk tank, inflatable obstacle course, yard games, balloon animals, caricature drawings and face painting.
In addition to the food trucks, other offerings included popcorn, popsicles, cotton candy and free water.
The hot dog stand run by the Boy Scout Troop 1351 went through 500 hot dogs in just two hours, according to DJ Gehrt, city administrator.
There was an appearance by KC Wolf of the Kansas City Chiefs, live music from the Good Sam Band, entertainment that included song and dance routines from Harper Haus Music Company, Beatniks Dance and Tumble and the Platte County Pirates cheerleading clubs.
“As with any of these events, I always have to mention the great job by our city staff,” the mayor said. “In addition to a huge amount of prior planning, staff arrived at 7 a.m. to set up and did not leave until almost 4 p.m. These things do not occur without a lot of behind the scenes work, the community, the board of aldermen and I are fortunate in the dedicated staff that pull things together and do the extremely hard work to make this work well and look easy.”
Platte City’s July 4th celebration concluded with a 10 p.m. fireworks display at the Platte County High School.