Early showers don’t dampen enthusiasm for Boom fireworks
Although the rain came down after Red White & Boom opened Monday, it did not stop attendees — umbrellas in hand — from claiming their spots along Cape Coral Parkway so they could get a good glimpse of the scheduled bands and fireworks.
Mike Balliet packed his wagon full of chairs, an umbrella, a change of clothes and bug spray for Monday night’s July 4th celebration in preparation for anything that could happen. He said he has been attending Red White & Boom for 20 years, 17 with his family.
“I have learned you have to come prepared for the conditions,” Balliet said, standing under his umbrella as the afternoon showers came down. “You need the basic essentials.”
Balliet said although they live right across the river in Fort Myers, they like to be where the party is.
“I like being around people,” he said as to why he enjoys attending the Cape’s annual Red White & Boom.
Balliet said he also enjoys the event because the fireworks are right in your face.
“There is music, beverages and food, what else can you ask for,” he said.
His daughters Jennifer, 13, and Heather, 10, and his two sons Mikey, 4, and Ryan, 21, attended the event with him and his wife Robin.
Jennifer said she enjoys the event because of the fireworks and Heather said she likes listening to the music and watching the fireworks as well.
First-timers Victor and Marlene Downs, who sat with an umbrella in her hand, set up chairs near the stage Monday night to watch the fireworks and listen to the music.
Marlene said if Victor is not working next year on the Fourth of July they will return.
Dallene Adams, 48, who just moved to Cape Coral from Alaska last month, was excited about watching fireworks for the first time on the Fourth of July, with her sister.
“It is a perfect way to usher us into our move,” she said about attending Red White & Boom.
Although it was raining when the gates first opened for the event, Adams said they were in it for the long haul because they came equipped with umbrellas.
Her sister, Ruby Rivera, said she has attended Red White & Boom for the past three years since moving from Alaska eight years ago.
“It’s awesome, we have a crazy fireworks display that is worth walking in the rain for and sitting out here for hours,” Rivera said.
Runners also attended the event for the first Prism TV Freedom 5k Race Monday night.
Rocky Madden, a Fort Myers resident, said he always ran the Fourth of July morning while he lived in Jackson, Miss., so he thought he would give the Freedom 5K race a try during its inception.
“If I could do it in 26 minutes, I’m OK with that,” he said about the final time he wanted to achieve for the run.
Madden said he registered for the run because he enjoys running over bridges.
He tries to register for all the local runs since he is a member of the Fort Myers Track Club. The longest run that Madden has participated in was a marathon.
The run began at 6:30 p.m. while the weather was still partially overcast, which Madden happy. He said that rain is not that bad to run in, it is just another element with which to deal.
Colleen Humphries, volunteer chairperson of Red White & Boom said this is the first time she volunteered for the event and was very pleased with the outcome Monday night.
“A lot of little pieces coming together,” she said.
Humphries said the event is fun because you have the opportunity to meet new people.
Toni Hurley, who also was a volunteer chairperson for the event, said they will begin planning for next year’s Red White & Boom next week due to all the planning that is involved.
Although the crowd was slow to gather near the bridge due to the rain early on, Hurley said she thought 20,000 people would be in attendance by the end of the night.
“It is a wonderful way for the whole community to get together and strengthen relationships in these economic times,” she said about the event.
The event was organized by the Chamber of Commerce and city of Cape Coral and title sponsored by RE/Max Realty Team.