All conditions are ‘GO’ for Red, White and BOOM

Thousands of people will gather to celebrate America’s 242nd Independence Day on Wednesday at the seventh annual Red, White and BOOM fireworks and festival.

Free to the public, it will again be at the Wicomico County Stadium and feature patriotic music, foods, bounce houses for children and camaraderie in a lively Americana atmosphere.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. In case of rain, the event will be on Thursday.

As music plays, fireworks will begin, starting with a gold firework, and a silver firework, in honor of Gold Star Families, who have lost a loved one in a war, and a Silver Star Families, to honor wounded, ill and injured veterans of the armed forces.

Also planned are a kazoo parade and food trucks selling favorites including barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, caramel popcorn, homemade ice cream and snow cones.

Fireworks, presented by Fantastic Fireworks Inc., based in White Hall, Md., cost about $20,000 and are paid for by the city and donations. Toyota is the biggest sponsor.

The much-loved Red, White and BOOM was created by local resident Mike Dunn, now CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee, who, like most city residents at the time, was disappointed that the city didn’t have an annual Independence Day festivity. For the past several years he has organized it. It is now run by Brian Nelson and Ryan Weitzel.

Last year, Dunn asked for volunteers and Nelson and Weitzel volunteered with Dunn as adviser.

“Both Ryan and I wanted to be able to find a way to give back to the community and this was one way,” Nelson said.

“We wanted to have community involvement and this was a way to do it. We want people to come out to a free event, sit down, relax, get some food from the food truck vendors and see the fireworks on the Fourth of July,” he said.

Dunn said he will continue to “do whatever is needed to ensure RWB is always part of this community and always a success.”

Those attending should take chairs or a blanket.

“There are no assigned seats and there is no bad spot for watching the fireworks,” Nelson said.

“The best seat in the house is at the stadium,” Dunn said, although fireworks will be visible from many areas in town.

“People can expect what we have delivered from year one, a fantastic, free, community fireworks show right from the heart of town. These fireworks are shot 600 feet in the air. They are shot from the old Salisbury Mall location. It’s almost impossible to get any closer to the fireworks, quite literally.  If you’re in a lawn chair at the county stadium on the field, you are looking almost directly vertically at the fireworks,” Dunn said.

When he conceived of the idea, Dunn said he expected it to be as big as it has become and as popular.

“I knew this community, like thousands of other communities across the country, like to gather for fireworks.

“There was no doubt in my mind that the community was ready again to have free fireworks. Now, thousands of people come every year, 5,000, 10,000 people. They don’t have to be at the stadium. They could be at the Twilley Centre, at the old Board of Education building. What matters is, no matter where you are, there are fireworks in the middle of your town,” Dunn said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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