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Friends prep for fireworks display

This year marks the 145th annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade, and a few days prior, city residents will see an event that hasn’t been put on in years.

The Friends of Ironton will have a fireworks display at the Center Street Landing Friday, an event organizers say will kick off summer and build community spirit.

Madeline Blackwell, FOI treasurer, and Jane Griffith, secretary, got the ball rolling on the idea.

“We used to have fireworks in town a long time ago,” Blackwell said. “We just decided it would be a fun thing to bring the people of Ironton back together.”

The Friends are sponsoring the event, as well as partnering with Ironton aLive. The Ironton Eagles have also donated money for the cost of the fireworks from Hamburg Fireworks Display Inc.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said all permits for the event have been secured and the Ironton Fire Department will be on hand for safety. The sheriff’s department marine patrol will also be on the river during the event.

This is the first city fireworks display during his administration, Blankenship said.

“We are very excited about it,” Blankenship said. “And it couldn’t be done without this organization and the volunteers. We hope everyone comes out to enjoy the family time.”

Rick Jansen, FOI president and founder, said the civic group has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years, and the fireworks display is another way to bring the community together.

“It’s a way to continue building community spirit and celebrate all the things going on,” Jansen said.

The fireworks will start at dusk and the FOI asks that the riverfront parking be reserved for handicapped drivers and drop-off for handicapped. People are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. There will be concessions sold.

The Friends will also host Ironton Opry on May 26 at the Ro-Na Theater. The Coalition and Knockin’ Spirits will perform to help raise money for the theater’s restoration.

The cost is a $10 donation. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the music starting at 8 p.m. There will be a cash bar. All proceeds will go to the restoration project.

Later this summer, the Friends will host a Battle of the Bands, July 12-13, and the 10th annual Rally on the River, Aug. 15-17.