Preparations made for annual Red, White & Boom
The city’s annual Red, White & Boom event will kick off at 4 p.m., Monday, July 4, with activities and food and drinks for the entire family to enjoy.
The event will feature more than 100 food and drink vendors, along with many merchandise vendors.
Bob Knickman, special events director of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, the host of the event, said they have been involved in planning Red, White & Boom for the past 20 years.
The planning for the event happens year round, but it becomes pretty intense after the first of the year, he said. The committee for Red, White & Boom is made up of 25 volunteers, who all undertake different portions of the planning to make sure everything is done.
Chairman Elmer Tabor, who was also the chairman of last year’s event, said putting the Red, White & Boom event on is a lot of hard work, which could not be accomplished without the volunteers. He said working with the 100-plus volunteers is absolutely, without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of the event.
“They are so passionate about the Boom,” Tabor said about the volunteers, who arrive as early as 6 a.m. the morning of the event and stay until 3 a.m. the following morning.
Tabor said the nice thing about the event is it is a family gathering with a great fireworks show, a kids’ area and a tribute. He said he also enjoys it because everyone is dressed in red, white and blue, waving flags and standing up for what America is all about.
“It’s not just the 4th of July, it’s Independence Day … it is a celebration for the freedom we have,” Tabor said.
Every year the event attracts more than 20,000 individuals.
Knickman said that Red, White & Boom is a free event thanks to title sponsor RE/MAX Reality and the city of Cape Coral.
Yoselyn Hollow with the RE/MAX Realty Team said it was the title sponsor for the event last year.
“We had such a great time doing it for the community last year that we decided to do it again this year,” she said. “It allows us an opportunity to be heavily involved in the community and celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
Hollow said they are offering a VIP area for those who wish to purchase tickets. A limited number of tickets can be purchased by calling 239-242-2011. The air-conditioned VIP tent will have food from local businesses, beverage tickets and raffle tickets.
The grand prize raffle ticket winner will be escorted to the top of the bridge to view the fireworks and then escorted back down once they are over.
The night before Red, White and Boom, Hollow said, the RE/MAX hot air balloon will do a night glow — weather permitting.
A few new activities have been added to this year’s event.
The first Prism TV Freedom 5k Race will begin at 6:30 p.m. on July 4.
Knickman said the committee decided to give the 5k race a shot and see what happens. He said that it is not often you have the chance to shut down the bridge, so it only made sense to try the race.
“I think running over the bridge is pretty special,” Knickman said.
Registration, which can be done through the Fort Myers Track Club website, is $25 through July 3 and $20 for youth 17 years old and younger. The cost will increase to $35 the day of the race.
The race will begin behind the stage on Cape Coral Parkway and then head east over the bridge through the toll plaza to the McGregor flyover and back.
The Florida Performance Academy is sponsoring the kids’ zone, which includes inflatable bounce houses, climbing walls and obstacle courses. The kids’ zone is free.
Local favorite Smack Daddy will be the opening band and Heidi Newfield will be the headline act for Red, White & Boom. She will take the stage at 8 p.m.
Knickman said free Boom trolley service will also be available to everyone who parks downtown. He said the trolleys will bring the individuals closer to the event and drop them off.
Knickman encourages individuals not to park where there is a sign that reads tow away zone, even if the business is not open.
“Those signs still mean don’t park there,” he said. “Do not park anywhere where it says ‘no parking.'”
Harley Davidson Bueu of Fort Myers will hold a special American Tribute presentation to honor the local servicemen and women who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knickman said the motorcycles will come over the bridge before the fireworks begin.
“Hopefully a lot of people will be able to see this,” he said. “We are still in two wars and people are still dying and we are not forgetting about that here at Red, White & Boom.”
The fireworks will go off around 9:30 p.m. — weather permitting.
In preparation of the event, the Cape Coral Parkway bridge will close at 9 a.m. on July 4 and reopen at 2 or 3 a.m. before the Tuesday traffic begins.
There is free parking for the handicapped on 1629 S.E. 47th Street behind the Elrey Jesus Church and $10 for non-handicap parking. The parking is two blocks away from the event.
“Enjoy the weekend, celebrate America, come out to the fireworks and have fun,” Tabor said about the special event.