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Red White & BOOM! Cape’s Independence Day blast

July 3, 2014
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

It is the largest single-day event in the city, but for the first time in its history, the Red, White & Boom event will be run by wholly the city.

And the city says it's ready for it.

More than 30,000 people are expected to come to the downtown area Friday to see Southwest Florida's largest fireworks display, eat tons of food, burn off said food with a 5K run, and listen to a variety of live music.

The event runs from 4 to 10:30 p.m. and from a logistical standpoint will be much different than years past.

"We're really looking forward to running it and we're confident it will be successful, and we appreciate the local sponsors who stepped up to continue the tradition," said city spokesperson Connie Barron.

The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral organized the event previously in conjunction with the city. Late last year, the chamber announced that it could no organize the event for lack of a major sponsor. That "title sponsor" funded much of the event's infrastructure like fencings, tends and portable sanitation stations.

The city and its Parks and Recreation department decided to take it over, provided it could get the smaller sponsors and not have to dip into the tax coffers, Barron said.

StormSmart stepped up with $30,000 to become the main sponsor, with American Brokers adding $10,000 that same day, and it was on from there.

"Red, White & BOOM! is so important to Cape Coral, that I couldn't image it without the fireworks and the celebration,' said Brian Rist, owner of StormSmart. "Cape Coral has been very good to us, so I felt I couldn't let it not happen."

"We were not tied to one sponsor. We could have numerous ones, and that's what happened," Barron said. "We've had other community businesses provide in-kind or sponsorship dollars."

But even without the Chamber carrying the heavier organizational load, Special Events coordinator Todd King believes his team can run the show, since they had a huge hand in it in the past.

"The city had helped the Chamber with logistics and our special events department was involved in that," King said. "This is the first time we're handling everything, but we have experience handling all the Bike Nights and the Coconut Festival."

King said to the average bystander it won't look much different than before, but other than the configuration and layout, there will be a big change.

For one, the venue will be more "people friendly" and provide a larger fireworks viewing area.

"We've opened the corridor for people to see the fireworks. We will open up both sides of Bernie Braden Park to allow more room for guests to see the show," King said. "We never opened the south side until now, so we're happy to have the extra space."

On the main stage will be a "musical celebration," featuring the Storm Warning Dancers, Blackwater, a country/rock band, Mike Imbasciani and his BluezRockerz band, and feature performer, Nashville recording artist Kelleigh Bannen.

Other events include the CenturyLink/Prism 5K run at 7 p.m. beginning at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge, which will be closed at 6 a.m. this morning. Registration will continue up to start time. There also will be a place for the kids to go to play on an obstacle course, giant slide, Velcro wall, bungie jumping, face painting and balloon art.

The big star will be the fireworks, which begin at 9:30 atop the Cape Coral bridge and promise to be the biggest ever.

"We welcome the community to come out and have a good time and it will be a spectacular event," King said.

No coolers, pets, fireworks or outside alcohol will be allowed. Barron warns people to dress appropriately, hydrate and prepare for the hot sun and/or rain.



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