Thousands of area residents gathered to enjoy the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air as Missouri Southern hosted the city of Joplin’s Independence Day Celebration.

Families enjoyed offerings from the food trucks, inflatables and a variety of hits from the ‘90s by The Mixtapes.

Employees were invited to gather at the North End Zone facility for refreshments and prime seating to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display.

The city’s annual celebration returned to Missouri Southern in 2018 after being held in Landreth Park and the Athletics Complex in

The crowd was bigger than in 2018 – which had an estimated attendance of more than 8,000 people, said Jared Bruggeman, director of athletics.

“It was a great crowd,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership with the city. It has great viewing areas and easy access points. Plus, it’s a chance for us to have our hardworking faculty and staff get together and celebrate.”