Red, White & Boom! ready to ignite skyline

Multicolored explosions will rock the skies over Columbus on July 3 in celebration of Independence Day, but construction on the Scioto Mile is forcing a change in venue this year for Red, White, & BOOM!

Red, White, & Boom takes a short walk this year to the other side of Broad Street as the 28th annual event moves midway operations from the riverfront to Washington Boulevard and fireworks staging from COSI to Veterans Memorial.

Construction on various components of the Scioto Mile are already underway and expected to continue through November of 2011.

The project, particularly on Bicentennial Park and Civic Center Drive, is forcing numerous site changes, such as those experienced by Red, White, & BOOM! and the annual arts festival, which was temporarily moved to the Discovery District near the art gallery and Columbus College of Art and Design.

Washington Boulevard, between Broad and Town streets, replaces Civic Center Drive as the center of midway action starting at 11 a.m. and Long Street traversing North Bank Park will be open for concessions and entertainment for the first time. Taste of BOOM! in the Arena District is expanding from Ludlow Street to Neil Avenue and the Independence Day parade moves its start from Front Street to Broad Street between COSI and Veterans Memorial.

Children’s Park features a range of interactive and educational programming for kids and their families. The parade begins at 6 p.m. with an Air National Guard flyover and will now head east across the Broad Street bridge, turn north on Front Street, and then disband on Nationwide Boulevard.

Live music and food will line the streets and sidewalks of the Arena District from 4 p.m. to midnight with Taste of BOOM!, which takes a break from 10-10:30 p.m. as fireworks fill the city sky accompanied by a simulcast soundtrack.

Bicentennial Park will still be open this year for viewing, but there is no entertainment in the park and it will not be available in 2009. Entertainment stages are located in Genoa Park, Children’s Park, Battelle Park, on Long Street, and at Taste of BOOM! Additional fireworks viewing vantage points are Berliner and Goodale Parks.

Although an explosion in China destroyed 20 fireworks warehouses, forcing a ban on fireworks shipments at all but two Chinese ports and resulting in the cancellation of a number of displays across the nation, Red, White and BOOM! is not impacted.

"Red, White and BOOM! will not be affected by (the explosions in China) as we have the show already prepared. It was an unfortunate incident in China that will really affect the future of fireworks costs," said Chris Mele, general manager of Pyrotechnico, the fireworks company that produces the Red, White & BOOM! display.

Mike Collins, Red, White & BOOM! executive director added, "Thanks to the leadership of BOOM!’s board of directors we were able to move the show development forward to April 1 and this helped us avoid being caught in the unfortunate incident. Additionally, we are very fortunate to have the services of Pyrotechnico, which keeps Red, White & BOOM! on the forefront of their Independence Day displays."

Dozens of parking options are available throughout Columbus’ downtown. However, Red, White, & BOOM! organizers recommend visitors take a COTA bus as one of the easiest and best ways to get to and from the event.

For information, visit www.redwhiteandboom.org or call 421-BOOM.   

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