WAMEGO (KSNT) – Wamego’s love for the Fourth of July is contagious, and there’s a reason people call it “Boomtown.” Wamego is home to one of the state’s largest fireworks show, and people travel from all over to see it.
Having people in town is a big deal in terms of revenue for the city, support for local businesses and just celebrating the meaning of the Fourth.
“It brings the locals, but it also brings people from all over the state and other states,” City Manager Stacie Eichem said. “We’ve had people from other states come, we’ve had people visiting from other countries come, and their families bring them to Wamego.”
Eichem estimates between 40,000 and 50,000 people attend each year, bringing in revenue for the city’s infrastructure and support for local businesses.
“The Fourth is one of the highest days of the years that we will do,” Karen Wille, owner of Smokin’ Wille’s BBQ. “It gets really, really, really busy, but it’s a good busy. It brings a lot to the City of Wamego.”
Whether it’s serving classic barbecue dishes or providing visitors with cold beer, local business owners are ready for the rush of the Fourth.
“It’s critically important for any community to have net growth at various times for commerce,” Chris Hupe, owner of Spirits of ’76 Liquor store. “Certainly on a holiday weekend, it’s one where your community could empty out with people going elsewhere. But because of the incredible volunteer effort here, this community swells.”
He works with a team of volunteers to put on Wamego’s most famous attraction: the fireworks show. However, Hupe said having extra traffic in town is just an added bonus. Local businesses love having people in town for the holiday, but celebrating the true meaning of the holiday is what it’s all about.
“The feeling in this town around this day is clearly focused on what it’s about, which is celebrating America, celebrating our freedom and recognizing that freedom is not free,” Hupe said.
Festivities run June 30 – July 4 in downtown Wamego.