Crews cut down trees and prepare Berkley Riverfront Park for Riverfest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There will be plenty of celebrations for Independence Day, but Riverfest is one of the biggest  in the region and taking place Friday.

The festivities are taking place at Berkley Riverfront Park, and 40,000 people are expected to attend the one-day event, all beginning at 4 p.m.

"It's become quite the tradition in Kansas City, with one of the most spectacular fireworks displays," said Keli O'Neill Wenzel , the executive director of KC Riverfest. "We have everything from music, to food, beverages, it's really just a good picnic on the riverbank."

Friends of the River puts on the event that takes about $250,000 to host.

"These events, festivals, are never an easy task. While we hope people come here and enjoy it, they don't realize all the work that gets put into it," added O'Neill Wenzel.

The Berkley Riverfront Park is a Port Authority Park, and all the trees lining the outside of park were being chopped down throughout this week.

"They're just going in and cleaning it up, everybody wants the park to look pretty, this is a signature event for the year," O'Neill Wenzel said.

The Port Authority gave FOX 4 this statement:
"The Port Authority has contracted with Rosehill Gardens to cut down 100 trees at Berkley Riverfront Park. The cost is approximately $4,000. Some of the trees died because of Ash Borer (not Emerald Ash Borer). Some of the trees died because of the extreme heat over the past couple of  years. As you may know Ash Borer is a problem throughout the city, state and other parts of the country. The tree removal started on Saturday. The removal has not interfered at all with the setup for Riverfest. The setup crews and Rosehill Gardens have been able to work together. The tree removal will be complete today."

O'Neill Wenzel says nothing will put a damper on tomorrow's event.

"We work in the elements, so we're used to just about anything, as long as they're out of here before the guests get here, we're happy!" she said.

There will be a 17 minute fireworks show. It's $5 to get in, cash only,  children 12 and under are free. No outside food and beverages are allowed.  For information about parking,  click on this link.


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