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Fireworks donors get bang for their buck

A fireworks show takes place today in Crystal River, capping off a weeklong Independence Day celebration that began Saturday in Homosassa.

There is a difference this year. The fireworks won't be able to be seen from U.S. 19 because the launching barge is too far out in Kings Bay. Instead, organizers say, any waterfront restaurant or resort with a tiki bar on the bay, such as Plantation Inn, Port Paradise or Cracker's Bar & Grill, will be a prime viewing spot.

Their best advice is to get as close to the water as possible or launch a boat to view the show from the water.

The fireworks show is the result of an 11th hour effort by citizens to put on a show after Crystal River decided not to have fireworks this year. Led by Jeanne March and Bonnie Taylor, a former member of the Crystal River City Council, the group formed Fireworks Over Kings Bay, which is raising about $8,000 for the event.

The city opted not to have a fireworks show this year because the land parcel that had been used in the past was not available and the cost of renting a barge was too great, City Manager Susan Boyer said.

So Fireworks Over Kings Bay solicited donations to cover most of the $8,000 bill. Donations are still needed and can be made to the Crystal River Rotary Foundation. Drop off checks, earmarked in the memo section as a fireworks donation, at the Crider and Clardy Law Office, 521 SE Fort Island Trail at the Plantation Pointe professional center, or at Capital City Bank, on U.S. 19 in Crystal River.

Other area fireworks and parties include:

Boomtown Blast at Dunnellon High School will have fireworks at 9:30 p.m. today. Entertainment will begin at 7 p.m. Free.

Turners Fish Camp, at the end of Turner Camp Road in Inverness, will have a covered dish party with live music by Pacific Wind from 3 to 7 p.m. today. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. Admission is a covered dish. Call 726-0085.

Inglis will have a fireworks show at dusk today at the Buddy Risher Sports Complex at the South Levy Recreational Park on State Road 40.

The second annual Celebrate America Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, featuring fireworks at dusk, will be held today at Weeki Wachee Springs on U.S. 19 in Hernando County. A big change for this year's event will be the opening of Buccaneer Bay water park for the celebration; $1 admission to both Weeki Wachee Springs and the water park. Musical entertainment is scheduled all day. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for watching the fireworks, but no coolers are allowed. Food and drinks will be available. Because of the large crowds expected, off-site parking will be available at Nativity Lutheran Church, on Commercial Way about one-quarter mile north of Cortez Boulevard, and at Northcliffe Plaza, at Commercial Way and Northcliffe Boulevard; shuttle buses will run to and from the park all day.

_ Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313 or