Hourly Booms Beginning at 2 p.m. July 1 Mark Countdown to Fireworks Show
Contributed by Maureen Forrest
Booming sounds Thursday, July 1, from South Hill will be the all-clear signal for the 57th Annual Ithaca Community Fireworks Show. Beginning at 2:00 p.m., an aerial salute that can be heard for miles around will be fired every hour on the hour by fireworks technicians as a reminder that the show is a "go."
Fran Benedict, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual fireworks shows, said American Fireworks Manufacturing Co. of Utica and Ithaca plans an aerial display that will begin about 9:45 p.m.
Souvenirs and hot dogs, ice cream, candy, and beverages will be available at concession stands operated by Ithaca College's dining service. There will be several attractions on campus this year.
The schedule of festivities on Thursday night follows:
The fireworks show is scheduled to begin between 9:45 and 10 p.m., following the national anthem sung by the popular vocal group "Sons of Pitches."
- 5 p.m. -- Baseball on Ithaca College's Freeman Field
- 6:30 p.m. -- Food and roving entertainers across campus, featuring "Bugs Bunny," courtesy of Time Warner Cable
- 6:30 p.m. -- TCAT bus service (free) begins at the East Green Street bus shelter
- 6:30 p.m. -- RE/Max hot-air balloon rides on the lower playing fields (weather conditions permitting). Several members of Car Pride of the Finger Lakes will display classic cars in the visitor lot near the hot-air balloon rides.
If weather conditions Thursday night are not favorable, area radio and television stations will carry an announcement of the rain date, which is Friday, July 2. If the fireworks show is postponed, most pre-fireworks activities will be moved to Friday night.
"Once again, Ithaca College has opened its campus parking lots, fields, and facilities for the annual fireworks show, which will be visible from various points surrounding Ithaca," Benedict said. "We appreciate the support and logistics provided by IC, along with the efforts of the many volunteers who make this annual event possible."
Spectators should plan to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion, which hits its peak at about 7:30 p.m. "Better yet," Benedict said, "take a free TCAT bus from downtown to Ithaca College."
Shuttle buses will depart from the East Green Street shelter near the Tompkins County Public Library beginning at 6:30 p.m. They will return after the fireworks show, until 11:30 p.m.
Motorists are reminded that there is no parking on state and county highways, especially on routes 13 and 96B. Police and public safety officials will help direct traffic, and firefighters from the Ithaca Fire Department will be on standby near the fireworks.
Members of the Ithaca Sertoma Club, On-Site Volunteers, and employees of Tompkins Trust Company will be on the Ithaca College campus to collect donations from the public. Only these clearly identified volunteers are authorized to collect donations the night of the fireworks show, according to Benedict.
"Just $2 from each person who watches the show -- whether it's from South Hill or surrounding hillsides, parks, and backyards -- would help guarantee a fireworks show next year," Benedict said. Individual, group, and business donations can be sent to the attention of Benedict at the Ithaca Commons office of Tompkins Trust Company.
Media partners helping to promote the fireworks show are Eagle Broadcasting, the Ithaca Journal, and Time-Warner Cable. Additional support is provided by Tompkins Trust Company, Cornell University, Ithaca College, TCAT, On-Site Volunteers, and the Ithaca Sertoma Club.
For more information about the TCAT "fireworks express," call 277-RIDE (7433) or go to www.tcatbus.com.
Contributed by David Maley