Rain doesn’t dampen spirits at Red, White & Boom
Thunder boomers and a deluge shortly after the gates open aside, Red White & Boom drew another sizable Fourth of July crowd, organizers said.
In addition of what is promoted as the largest fireworks display in Southwest Florida, this year’s Independence Day street party in Cape Coral featured three big acts on its main stage – country singer Mickey Guyton, Keeping the Faith, a Bon Jovi tribute band, and Chase Rice, one of the biggest acts the event has had to date.
“It’s wonderful to parent with the radio stations, where they want to come to Cape Coral and bring that entertainment to us. It’s one of the driving forces to this event and many others,” said Steve Pohlman, Parks and Recreation director.
But unlike last year when there wasn’t a cloud to be found, a thunderstorm hit the area at around 6 p.m., forcing many to take cover wherever they could find it.
For Amy Court, marketing director of Storm Smart, the title sponsor, and many others, it was the hospitality tent where organizers were confident the summer storm would pass in plenty of time for the festivities to unfold.
“We’re happy to be sponsoring this event again this year and hope we can get the fireworks off as planned,” Court said. “We’re proud of the city and hope this will be a great event for everybody.”
The worst of the rain stayed east and the city was able to reset the stage for the rest of the entertainment, much to the delight of Todd King, special event supervisor.
“Mother Nature can really punch you in the nose, but we recovered and as a strong city the special events division pulled together and we got the show running,” King said. “We always have contingency plans for the weather. We thought the integrity of everything we do was sustainable and getting the show back up in 45 minutes proves we did a good job.”
There were numerous vendors, large and small at the event. Among them was the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions tent, where player Ruven Vandewater held giveaways and juggling competitions for prizes such as a game-worn jersey.
“We wanted to show ourselves to the community. We’re having one-on-one competitions with the trainers,” Vandewater said. “We’re excited to be here. We see a lot of talent here.”
Next to the music and the fireworks, the kids area, which this year featured a zip line and bounce areas, was the biggest draw.
Kelly Moore brought her kids and their friends from Labelle for the evening for the fireworks.
“We’re having fun. The kids like getting wet. We’re going to see Chase Rice, see some fireworks and have fun,” Moore said.
The rain took the edge off the heat, and Rice went on shortly after sunset to a raucous crowd for his more than hour long set.
He even had a surprise for a fan. Jo Ellyn Nash joined Rice onstage to be serenaded acoustic style.
Nash, whose son is a huge fan, stood in for him since he couldn’t make it to the show because he was visiting a college.
“He’s amazing. I love him. He’s an engaging person because he brings the audience in. It’s a dream come true because my son is his biggest fan,” Nash said. “He’s going to flip out when he finds out.”
Once he was finished, Mayor Marni Sawicki, the city council and main sponsors set the fireworks in motion, the grand finale for the evening, leaving the crowd satisfied.
“It was awesome. We’ve been coming for 10 years and it’s the best one yet,” said J.P. Taurasi, general manger of the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions who made sure to attend as a spectator. “I was surprised they played the music they had. I thought it would be more country.”
“It was amazing. They did a great job with the fireworks. The music was good. Chase was good. I’m coming back next year,” said Michelle Piscitelli of North Fort Myers.