Red, White and Boom adds time, intensity

DeWayne Bartels

Red, White and Boom — the riverfront July 4 fireworks show — is going to be a much bigger affair this year.

Officials from Peoria, East Peoria, Methodist Medical Center and JMP Radio announced this morning on Peoria’s Riverfront that festivities will extend to three days.

On July 3, rock band Cheap Trick will play on Peoria’s Riverfront, and on July 5, country act Diamond Rio is slated to play on Peoria’s Riverfront.

But, the added boom in this year’s festivities will not be coming from speakers alone.

Mike Wild, vice-president of JMP Radio, said the fireworks show is going to be much bigger as well.

“This year’s show will be bigger, better and more intense,” Wild said.

Last year, $50,000 was spent on fireworks.

This year, the figure stands at $75,000.

And, Wild said, it may go higher.

“We may increase that figure before the 4th of July,” Wild said.

“It will be an astronomical difference in what you see shot in the air,” Wild said of this year’s show.

At this level of expenditure, Wild said, the joint Peoria/East Peoria show puts it in the top 2 percent of fireworks displays in the nation.

“We have a vision to build it even more ... We want a jaw-dropping event,” Wild said.

“This is a wonderful platform on which to build,” Wild added.

Michael Bryant, CEO of Methodist Medical Center, agreed with Wild.

“It’s going to be a big show,” Bryant said.

“We want to make this a $100,000 show. We aren’t quite there yet, but this is a big step in that direction. This is truly a regional event,” Bryant added.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus both spoke of the cooperation between the two cities, and how it is benefitting both.

“This event has a great history. It’s great for us to be involved,” Mingus said.

Ardis said this announcement was even more exciting than the announcement last year when both mayors met on a barge at mid-river to declare the two cities would work together on the fireworks show.

“Peoria is proud to play its part in this event,” Ardis said.

Brent Lonteen, president of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the event could draw as many as 200,000 people from as far as 60 miles away.

“This event, to me, is much more than a fireworks show,” Lonteen said.

“It’s symbolic of individual municipalities coming together,” Lonteen said. “We have to be that way to attract visitors. We have to work as a team or we’re dead.”