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Red, White & Boom’s move ‘the right call’

By Staff | May 21, 2020

The city of Cape Coral’s decision to postpone and then revamp Red, White & BOOM is being hailed as not only the prudent choice, but one that will allow for a golden opportunity to celebrate — literally.

The July 4th celebration is going to be moved to Labor Day weekend as part of Cape Coral’s 50th anniversary as a city. The event may have a different name, and it may be at a different time of the year, but organizers say they will try to make it a blast.

“I think it’s prudent we move it because it’s such a large gathering. Red, White & BOOM brings in thousands of people,” Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello said. “We will hopefully be on the backside of COVID-19, so we just didn’t want to bring so many people in such close proximity.”

Todd King, the city’s special events coordinator, said losing the biggest single-day event is tough, especially since it came on a Saturday this year. But cramming tens of thousands of people onto Cape Coral Parkway could be a disaster waiting to happen.

“We ran through a million different scenarios to get it done. But it’s 40,000 people. We came to the conclusion that is was better to put it off and go for a Labor Day experience,” King said. “We’re going to run the same script. It will just tie into our 50th anniversary.”

Country music star Chase Rice was to be the headliner, which he also was in 2015, with supporting acts to follow.

Parks & Rec considered a “drive-in,” fireworks-only event at Festival Park called the Great American Tailgate, where people could watch the display in their cars while practicing social distancing.

They decided against it.

“Would people comply with social distancing? Would we create a public nuisance where they would disregard it in the name of liberty? We didn’t want to set that precedent,” King said.

The city also considered a virtual event broadcast on a local TV station with Rice performing from his home in Nashville. That proved to be cost prohibitive and it wouldn’t be the same, King said.

King said the move to Labor Day was pretty much a “Plan F,” but it ended up being necessary as every other plan proved unworkable. He also said it would kill two birds with one stone, as there were plans for a separate celebration.

Coviello said it should be a nice alternative, as it will also serve as a rededication to the monument at the foot of Cape Coral Parkway, which is being refurbished. Rice is also expected to headline the new event, with a retro ’70s theme being considered as well.

“Whether it brings in people from the outside who typically come to this event remains to be seen,” Coviello said. “It’s unfortunate we had to cancel other events, but it had to be done, and we should be in good shape come Sept. 5.”

Gloria Tate, president of the Cape Coral Historical Society, said she is thrilled the event’s move will showcase the city’s anniversary.

“I’m disappointed about losing Red, White & BOOM, but I understand them moving the event. It will be great to showcase the history of our city on Cape Coral Parkway,” Tate said. “There are a lot of positives to moving it and families will get to celebrate the Fourth with their families.”

King said everything came down to people’s safety, which couldn’t be guaranteed in the current climate.

“Our No. 1 focus in anything we do is public safety. That made it a no-brainer,” King said. “We’re not disappointed that we cancelled, but the whole globe is facing this stinking pandemic.”