Weather no damper on BOOM!
Todd King, special events coordinator for the city of Cape Coral, was the busiest man in town Monday making sure everything was perfect for the annual Red, White & BOOM! Independence Day bash along Cape Coral Parkway.
King was able to pull off just about everything, with Mother Nature also co-operating as potential thunderstorms and downpours somehow stayed away, making this year’s event one of the most successful to date.
More than 30,000 people crammed near the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge to watch the fireworks, which went off despite intermittent light rain. As usual, many arrived just before sunset to pick a good seat and catch some great live music.
Looking at the sky at 5 p.m., when the event got started, it looked as though the future of it was murky, at best. Thunder could be heard during Soapy Tuna’s set.
Still, King was confident everything would come together.
“It’s a million different moving parts all coming together in a great celebration of our community,” King said. “We keep dodging bullets and we hope to have a great show tonight. I think we’ll be fine.”
In the end, they were. Red, White & BOOM! featured country acts Love & Theft and Michael Ray, Kid’s Patriots Park, where children could bounce around on the inflatable rides or take a ride on the zipline, dozens of vendors selling everything from elephant ears to their candidacy in Congress and much more.
Kim Skinner, a Fort Myers Derby Girl, and a bunch of her teammates, including a woman named “Hot Realz,” skated around passing out tickets for the final match of the season, much as they have done in the past, though the game has changed.
“We want to get the word out about our game on Aug. 21 at Bamboozle’s,” Skinner said. “The sport has come a long way. It’s more of an athletic sport than entertainment.”
Greg Guminski, of American Broker’s Realty Group, had many people come out as they passed out beach balls and American flags.
“It gets our name out so that if people have a need for real estate, they might think of us,” Guminski said. “We just enjoy mingling with the community and celebrating Independence Day.”
But the star was the fireworks, presented by Storm Smart with 5,000 shells exploding in the Cape Coral sky above the Caloosahatchee River in a musically synchronized display.
Jenna Ritter, who attended with her husband and three kids, came for the show. She said she wanted to see Love & Theft while the kids were there for the food and fireworks.
“We listened to the fireworks on the patio last night from our neighbors,” Ritter said while Aaron said he came for the cheeseburgers, with Ashley and April there for the fireworks.
Ina Hef came from Norway for the celebration with her friends and family out of curiosity.
“We want to see an American celebration of the Fourth of July. We’ve never been to one,” Hef said. “It’s great.”
Annette Pennachio came with her friends, Maggie Testa and Dawn Edwards. They all said the event was amazing and was what all cities need to celebrate the U.S.A.
“Everything brought us here. The food, the crowd, the music. We were all excited to get here and have a wonderful night. We thought it would rain, but it ended up being beautiful,” Pennachio said. “We were going to come anyway.”
“Today, everybody is American, so we’re celebrating that independence,” Testa said, who came from Connecticut to party here and on Fort Myers Beach. “I’ve been coming down for 23 years and my parents and I have a place in Estero. I love coming here.”
Rachel Lloyd, who has attended Boom for 10 years, and her friends did a family BBQ before coming to have a blast.
“I love Cape Coral. It’s a great place to be. More people are coming, it’s family oriented and I love it,” Lloyd said. “It’s great to be home all day. It’s what America is all about.”
“We’re going to make this an early night because we all have to work. Party hard and work hard,” said Kim McMullen. “It’s great to come out with friends.”