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BOOM! Rain doesn’t dampen spirits at Cape’s Independence Day celebration

By Staff | Jul 9, 2019

Rain may have played the opening act but the largest fireworks display in Southwest Florida was again the headliner at Cape Coral’s Fourth of July celebration, Red White & BOOM!

“I’ve never seen fireworks like this,” Gens Wallasch, a vacationer from Germany, said. “We came out of the storm to see it. I would come again.”

He was not alone.

Despite the summer downpour and subsequent late start for the fireworks show, many braved the weather for the street party capper.

“I thought it was the best one yet,” said Ed Konarski. “We found a place to stay dry, got something to eat and went to see the fireworks. You know the rain is going to happen. You just hope it misses you.”

Regular BOOM! attendee Fernando Gomez took a similar view.

“It was beautiful. It was well organized. Everyone behaved, the bands were good,” Gomez said. “I loved everything about it. God bless America.”

Every year it seems, rain plays a part at the annual celebration organized by the city of Cape Coral and held along Cape Coral Parkway at the foot of the bridge.

And every year, people just keep on coming.

About 30,000 people turned out for the annual event that steps off with a related early morning foot race and then officially opens late afternoon with live music, food and drink vendors, and more, strung along the parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to the Cape Coral Bridge.

The vendors ran the gamut from food to non-profits, businesses and candidates running for office.

Among those who set up shop was the Kiwanis, which gave away books and stuffed animals to young patriots with the help of Key Club members.

“We want children to read and to get off their devices. We’ve given away hundreds of books and animals and painted hundreds of faces,” said Ann Vaughn, Kiwanis vice president as the storm clouds made their way in. “It’s the Fourth of July and we should have a storm.”

The Kiwanis tent became the perfect place to stay dry once it started pouring, which did little to damper the spirits of hard-core BOOMers.

Aris Garcia, who came with her husband, for her 14th Red, White & BOOM!, said rain is sometimes just part of the celebration.

“It’s rained sometimes but never this bad. I love the fireworks, I come here every year for that,” Garcia said. “I haven’t had a chance to eat anything yet, but I will.”

Not everyone sought shelter from the storm.

Some came well prepared.

Howard Datz, who has also attended this event for years, sat near the stage with his wife and granddaughter as the rain pelted down. They just wanted a good seat.

“I have my poncho and I’m all bundled up and dry underneath it. Last year we left it got so bad and they did it anyway. We just decided to be better prepared this year with rain gear and if it happens, we’ll tough it out,” Datz said.

Dakota Johnson, 11, and her family found shelter in a tent.

“The Cape Jr. (Pop Warner) cheerleaders had a tent and that’s where we went. I cheer for them. We came for the fireworks and the music,” Dakota said.

The live music on stage featured Neon Summer, Haley and Michaels, and the headliners, LOCASH, a Baltimore-based country act that come on an hour later than scheduled because of the weather.