COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With hundreds of thousands of people expected to head downtown for the firework spectacular tomorrow, some Red, White & BOOM! goers began scoping out hours before setup was permitted.
“I have all my stuff from hiking so I blow up my air mattress, I have my sleeping bag I’m all ready, my tent,” said Kim Starr. “I have it all setup. So this is like being on the trail.”
Starr got to Centennial Park around 11:20 a.m. Thursday, more than five hours before spectators were even allowed to begin setting up and she’s not leaving anytime soon.
“Other people will come and they might set up areas around and they don’t stay usually,” said Starr. “And then they’ll say ‘Can you watch my things?’, oh yeah I can watch your things. And ya know if they come during the day at times, it lets me go to the restroom or go to the car and get anything else.”
Starr isn’t the only one camping out to ensure they have their BOOM! spot secured.
Co-Executive Director of BOOM! Shawn Verhoff says they’re expecting many more just like Starr.
“There will be camping tonight, there will be people sleeping in the parks,” said Verhoff. “Ya know we have overnight security, CPD is all through the area so it is a safe kind of once a year, kind of thing for people to do.”
With the event coming back after a three year hiatus, the city of Columbus has grown and changed. In turn, potentially changing the viewing location you once used.
“All of the Westside of the river since we’ve done it in 2019, has been turned into a construction sight,” said Verhoff. “So, we’re really expecting majority of our people to come over really to the Eastside of the river.”
Verhoff said you will be able to see the fireworks from any of the intersections along Civic Center Drive
“You can see it all the way along Civic Center, Spring and Long Street,” said Verhoff. “In the North Area as well as McPherson Commons, Northbank park, all those areas are wonderful viewing areas.”
The co-executive director is asking you to keep the parks clean and be mindful of your neighbors.
“Once you’ve got your group together kind of condense your space,” said Verhoff. “Ya know, make room for everyone. The beauty of this is we’re a full community event and treat your fellow neighbor with a lot of respect.”
Stakes and posts are not permitted, but blankets, tents and tarps are. Verhoff is asking you to remove blankets and tarps from the grass once your group gets to your spot to help preserve the property.