West Side News

Boom! to offer robust burst of color July 3


For the 33rd year in a row, Red White & Boom! promises a diverse array of food vendors, live entertainment, an Independence Day parade and, of course, a robust fireworks display.

The event, to be held from noon to 11 p.m. July 3, is expected to attract nearly half a million spectators -- 250,000 in the event's perimeter and the remainder at private parties and viewing areas throughout the downtown area.

For the first time, the entire Scioto Mile, all downtown bridges and Long Street through to the Arena District will be open for revelry, said Mike Collins, executive director of the event.

"Now that we have the entire downtown theater, we have an opportunity to present a larger and even more varied Red White & Boom!," Collins said.

"It opens up more direct event space, provides for more opportunities for food and fun, especially with the vendors, and gives Columbus an even greater claim as the Midwest's largest Independence Day celebration."

More than 130 concessionaires and local restaurants will line the streets during the day.

Taste of Boom, located on Nationwide Bouelvard, will offer dishes from many Arena District restaurants, including Big Bang, Gordon Biersch, Steak Escape, BD's Mongolian Barbecue and Rodizio Grill.

Live entertainment will fill all five stages: two on Nationwide Boulevard -- one on the plaza near the arena and another at Nationwide and McConnell boulevards -- one at Neil Avenue and Long Street, and one each in Genoa Park and Bicentennial Park.

Country star Craig Campbell, known for his single Fish, will perform at 8 p.m. at the West Hollywood Casino stage at Nationwide and McConnell.

At 6 p.m., the Independence Day parade will step off at the Main Street bridge, travel east on Main Street, turn north on Front Street and disband at Spring Street.

This year, the parade will include 60 entries and is expected to attract 125,000 spectators along the mile-long route. Leading the parade will be Ford's Oval of Honor, composed of eight veterans from Ohio.

The children's park, returning for its fourth year at corner of Neil and Long, will offer a number of games and activities, such as performances from Planet Dance, inflatable amusements, balloon twisters and face-painters.

Then, at 10 p.m., the 26-minute fireworks display will begin.

Collins reiterated that, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, local and federal officials have stepped up security by placing more uniformed and plainclothes officers in the event perimeter, roughly bounded by Vine, Front, Bell and Main streets, a 14-square-block area that occupies both sides of the Scioto River.

In addition, the city will turn on up to 40 security cameras being installed downtown where major events take place: in the areas of North Bank and Genoa parks, Marconi and Civic Center drives, and Broad and Front streets.

Staff members will also conduct more thorough inspections of unattended packages.

"We want to put people at ease with all the correct safety factors without creating undue alarm," Collins said.