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Published: Sunday, 7/5/2009

Toledo's July 4 celebration delights with food, fireworks

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Lots of food and loud music - all topped off with a ton of commercial-grade fireworks exploding in downtown Toledo over the Maumee River made a five-hour wait worth it for Stacy Clark and her two eager sons.

The family, which boated from Ottawa County to see Toledo's fireworks show Saturday night, docked and staked out a spot with a perfect view.

"Everyone is having a really fun time and this is always a great event and a great day, even if it rains or is really hot - we all just love getting on the boat and coming down here," Ms. Clark of Oak Harbor said.

The Blade's Red White and Kaboom fireworks display, which lasted 22 minutes, ended a two-day party.

Some feared the event would not happen this year, given Toledo's financial troubles, but police said the festival attracted close to 150,000 people.

The Budweiser Clydesdales make an impressive entrance at Toledo's Red, White, and Kaboom Fourth of July celebration. The two-day event featured food, live music, and, of course, fireworks. The Budweiser Clydesdales make an impressive entrance at Toledo's Red, White, and Kaboom Fourth of July celebration. The two-day event featured food, live music, and, of course, fireworks.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Public money was not used for the event, but the city paid for extra police officers to patrol downtown.

Dozens of boats dotted the river yesterday hours before the fireworks show and filled both the park and the patios at the restaurants in International Park.

Toledo resident Paul Williams, who had planned to watch the fireworks from a boat had to settle for a blanket on the grass.

"I love the city and I'm happy they decided to go on with the show even though times are tough," he said. "It's one of those things that all these people will come down here for and have a good time, and you take that away and it's just a big loss for everyone."

Dressed to celebrate, Alexis Hugo, 7, of Detroit blows bubbles at Promenade Park.
Dressed to celebrate, Alexis Hugo, 7, of Detroit blows bubbles at Promenade Park.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The event was presented by the University of Toledo, Taylor Auto Group, and WTOL-TV.

It included six bands on Friday and seven yesterday, along with lots of beer and food from area restaurants, an Air Force jet flyover, and the Budweiser Clydesdales.

"The horses are amazing," said Amber Washington, 7, whose family drove from Monroe for the outdoor party.

They were among the thousands who lounged on the grass for hours before the Zambelli fireworks display began after dark.

Toledo Police Deputy Chief Don Kenney said a rumored "blue flu" - calling in sick - during the holiday weekend did not occur. The city was prepared for a few officers dissatisfied with a tentative contract who were considering the blue flu, and had 20 Lucas County sheriff's deputies standing by.

"We have had very minimal problems - no worse than any other year," Deputy Chief Kenney said.

Everyone agreed: Yesterday's Fourth of July weather came close to perfection. It was a cool 73 degrees, with occasional sunshine and a light breeze. At 6 p.m., there was still room for latecomers to claim viewing spots for the fireworks.

The grand finale was the big crowd-pleaser last night - drawing roars of applause and cheers.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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