A brief history of Garner Lake Fireworks



by: Mark Hartz

In the days of Lakeland Amusement Park, fireworks were a regular attraction. Nancy and I lived across Canada Rd. on 52 acres in the '60s. We used to go to the causeway to watch fireworks with our young daughter. Mr. Garner developed lots for sale on the western shores of the lake for summer/weekend retreats for Memphians in the early '70s to help pay for park operations. It was still his custom to attract people to the park with concerts and special events, accompanied by fireworks. As more people moved to the lake to make their retreat houses a permanent home, our community took root. Mr. Garner sought the help of state government to incorporate and in 1977 the city of Lakeland was born. As the community grew, residents became more involved and local clubs were formed. Among them, the Lakeland Civic Club and the Lakeland Ladies Club spawned the desire to later form the Lakeland Lions Club.   After the Civic Club dissolved, it was the Lions Club that renewed fireworks on the lake. In the beginning of the 21st century, the decision was made by the leadership of the Lions Club to channel money away from the civic event to provide better services to those in need and those with sight problems. At that time, a member and Lakeland resident Karen Woodward, sacrificed her time and talents to provide the fireworks through donations from the residents around the lake. The baton was passed to Stephanie Lefler and recently to Mica Partain so the tradition continues.