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Communities across the
country celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and parades Friday.
In northwest Ohio,
thousands came to downtown Toledo for the Red, White, KABOOM! fireworks display
over the Maumee River.
A pyrotechnics crew spent
hours preparing to make the show memorable.
"You got a large variety,
there's a lot of specialty shells," said show producer Ronnie Greco. "We have a
great show put together, and obviously with the weather – we couldn't ask for a
better night to shoot fireworks, that's for sure."
With all the extra people,
Toledo Police and the fire department worked together to make sure everyone
"We've got a 620-foot
perimeter set up around the shoot zone, and that's based upon the size of the
shells that they'll be shooting," explained Toledo Fire Captain Robert Walters.
"You never quite know what could potentially happen. Fireworks, obviously, are
TFD, TPD, the Coast Guard
and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office teamed up and operated out of a unified
command center at Toledo Fire Headquarters.
It was the fifth annual
Boomfest in Oregon this year. Aside from fireworks, the celebration featured a
classic car show, live music, and events for the kids.
"It's good for the
community," said Carl Genson at the car show. "The people get out and are able
to have a good time, because most don't know this place exists."
The event has been free to
the public since its inception. It costs about $50,000 to host, but the city
and other sponsors cover the cost so Oregon residents and others can have a
"I really just hope that
people come here and have a good time, blend with their neighbors and really
look forward to next year," said Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian.
Fremont residents also
came together on the Fourth to celebrate. But hours before the fireworks
started Friday night, they held a parade.
The parade has become an
annual tradition for most Fremont residents, because they say it not only
promotes national pride but local connections, as well.
"Things like this don't
happen too often, so we come downtown and try to have a good time," said Austin
Another tradition in
Fremont attracted 5,000 visitors to Spiegel Grove Friday afternoon. The 18th
annual Independence Day Concert was held at the Hayes Presidential Center,
featuring the Toledo Symphony Concert Band.
"Music is a bonding thing
in and of itself," said Bruce Moss, conductor of the Toledo Symphony Concert
Band. "It crosses all generations, all cultures."
The concert has grown
larger every year, drawing visitors from all over Ohio. It makes sense to hold
it at the home of President Rutherford B. Hayes for the national connection,
but President Hayes himself held events like that when he lived there.
"President and Mrs. Hayes
loved Spiegel Grove, and they loved having visitors come and share the beauty
of the grounds," said Joan Eckermann, special events coordinator at the center.
"They would be thrilled to have this many people out on their front lawn
listening to music."
The event is free each
year, and is expected to continue as long as visitors continue filling the lawn
with red, white and blue.