A weeklong, weather-challenged celebration of America’s birthday

After being delayed a night due to stormy weather, the annual Pontiac fireworks display lit up the night sky Saturday over Bull Shoals Lake, casting shadows behind boaters gathered below. Photo courtesy Karen Eubank

Regal pose This bald eagle seemed to pose for photos by July 4 floaters on the North Fork of the White River. Photo courtesy of Friends of the North Fork of the White River and Bryant Creek

Trinity Randolph, 3, took a spin on one of the Rockbridge trail horses, led by wrangler Stephanie McClendon, during the Independence Day festivities at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch. She attended with her dad, Joshua Randolph. Allison Wilson photos courtesy West Plains Daily Quill

Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch. Allison Wilson photos courtesy West Plains Daily Quill

Patriotic yard art Marking the patriotic July 4 holiday, veterans Kathleen and Lee Bowen displayed a flag-trimmed half-scale replica of a smooth-bore cannon in the yard of their Harlin Drive home in Gainesville. Lee, who represents the central ward on the Gainesville Board of Aldermen, made the muzzle-loading canon for a parade a few years ago. He is an Army veteran; Kathleen served in the Air Force.

Towing along Thayer resident Capri Bristow gets a tow from Sharon Cobb of West Plains while Capri’s daughter Ellie Ann wades in the shallow water of the North Fork of the White River on July 4. The women, with husbands Danny Cobb and David Bristow, floated from Blair Bridge to Patrick Bridge, introducing Ellie Ann to her first float trip. The friends joined hundreds of others who enjoyed Ozark County’s lakes and streams over the long July 4 holiday.

An afternoon of celebrating America’s birthday at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch (photos above) gave way to an explosion of colorful fireworks over Spring Creek at evening’s end. The West Plains Daily Quill reported that 1,500 people the Rockbridge celebration on July 4. Allison Wilson photos courtesy West Plains Daily Quill

Ozark County’s celebration of the Fourth of July holiday continued last week as crowds gathered in Rockbridge and Pontiac for elaborate fireworks displays and water-fun enthusiasts headed for lakes and streams. 

Following a day of patriotic activities, a fundraiser pig roast and then a sky-blazing fireworks show in Theodosia on Saturday, June 29, the Theodosia Marina Resort was hit by a weather setback Wednesday evening, July 3. Resort owners Bret and Mel Cook posted a report on the resort’s Facebook page that said a wall of rain came up the lake about 5 p.m. Eight minutes of torrential rain were followed by “something really unbelievable,” they said, describing the “micro burst of wind around 60 to 70 mph” that hit the marina, moving it about 30 feet and tearing off all the walkways. 

No one was hurt in the freak storm, but a lot of work was required to put things back together, the Cooks said, adding their thanks for the “wonderful friends” who “helped us out in our time of panic.”

By Thursday, July 4, the weather was perfect for the Independence Day celebration across the county at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch, where the West Plains Daily Quill reported that 1,500 people gathered for a wide array of family-focused activities followed by a fireworks show over Spring Creek. 

The Pontiac celebrators weren’t quite so lucky, weather-wise. The fireworks display scheduled for Friday, July 5, had to be postponed a night, but the rescheduled show was another crowd-pleaser, with hundreds watching the colorful bombs bursting in the air over Bull Shoals Lake.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423