Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016
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Blade hosts ‘Red, White, KaBOOM’

Fireworks show enters 6th year

Whizbangs will crackle in the downtown Toledo sky this Independence Day at The Blade’s “Red, White, KaBOOM” celebration.

Approximately $50,000 worth of fireworks, organized by the fireworks company Pyrotecnico, will be launched from the downtown Toledo waterfront at 10 p.m. July 4. The free 22-minute show, now in its sixth year, will be synchronized to a mix of patriotic and military-themed American tunes provided by the local radio station WXKR, 94.5 FM.

“It’s primarily for the children, but adults like fireworks, too,” said Michael Mori, director of sales for The Blade and the event’s director.

The event, beginning at 6 p.m., will take place on both sides of the river in Promenade and International parks. Beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, and hamburgers will be for sale at Promenade Park, and visitors will find room for family-friendly fun at International Park.

A veteran of “Red, White, KaBOOM,” local group the Jamm Band, featuring Bruce Sims, is scheduled to perform a set of Motown music and R&B starting at 7 p.m.

In previous years, The Blade has brought in a number of musical acts, including the U.S. Navy Band and U.S. Army Band, and has invited local bands to participate in a “battle of the bands.” Those groups are not scheduled for this year, but Mr. Mori said he is looking into the possibility of bringing in additional acts, despite the event’s limited budget.

While Perrysburg and Sylvania present firework displays of their own the night before the holiday, Mr. Mori said, “Red, White, KaBOOM” provides the area’s largest fireworks show on the Fourth. He said the event is among the biggest the city holds year-round, with past crowds of about 80,000.

“I have people calling from Cincinnati to come and see them,” he said.

Mr. Mori said The Blade runs the event without city funding, and that the event is not a source of profit for the newspaper. He credits the event’s corporate sponsors, Humana and the Taylor Automotive Group, as well as Toledo’s fire and police departments, the Coast Guard, city employees, and Imagination Station for helping to make the show possible.

Mr. Mori praised “Red, White, KaBOOM” as an opportunity for the community of Lucas County to bond.

“[You] see both sides of Toledo filled with people, an entire river filled with boats and everybody having a good time,” Mr. Mori said. “It’s the one night that the entire downtown comes together to enjoy the unique riverfront that is Toledo.”

Contact Jennifer Gersten at: jgersten@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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