Patriotic colors will fill the streets and fireworks will fill the skies of downtown Columbus on Wednesday for the 39th annual Red, White and BOOM!
This year’s Independence Day celebration will include a festival, live music and a parade in addition to Ohio’s largest fireworks display.
Over 400,000 people are expected to attend the festival and watch the fireworks shoot from the east bank of Genoa Park, according to the Red, White & BOOM! website.
For many, like 2015 alumnus Shane Borden who has attended the past four years, the event is a cherished tradition.
Borden said he plans to attend the fireworks display again this year with his roommate and friends he worked with at a summer camp.
“I like it a lot because I go with a group that I usually don’t really get to see that much throughout the year,” Borden said.
Though he is not sure where he will be sitting this year, Borden said he and his group of friends normally meet at a brewery before the show begins.
Borden added that because the event and the celebration of Independence Day as a whole is something that only happens once a year, it brings an energy he really enjoys.
Neal Scaff, Columbus native and avid Red, White & BOOM! attendee, has been in attendance for more than 20 years and said it is something he looks forward to every year.
Not only does Scaff attend the event, but he also reserves a spot to watch the fireworks near one of the stages over 24 hours before the celebration begins. Scaff said he plans to arrive at 5 p.m. on Tuesday to rope off his preferred seat, and will then come back at 2 p.m. on Wednesday to enjoy the festivities and wait for the show to start.
“Everybody pretty much respects the spot you roped off from the night before. We’ve never had an issue with somebody taking our spot,” Scaff said.
While waiting for the fireworks display to begin, Scaff said he and his family prepare by bringing coolers full of drinks and games to occupy themselves. Scaff said they also walk around the festival and enjoy the live music.
Scaff said his favorite part of the show is the grand finale and seeing the people around him come together as one big family.
“I love the city. I love the state. I love my country, and this is the best way to celebrate,” Scaff said.
Activities will begin Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Scioto Riverfront in downtown Columbus. The parade will start at 5:30 p.m. and the fireworks display will start at 10 p.m.