COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Local businesses involved with Red, White & BOOM! are surprised and disappointed by the decision of the City of Columbus to not grant a permit for the event in July.
Of the 3,000 people the event employs, 95% are from central Ohio.
“Totally caught us off guard. Not only for me but for all of the vendors. We really depend on doing big events like Red, White & BOOM!,” said John Page, President & CEO of Pagetech Limited.
The Columbus-based company does audio, video, lighting, and stages for big shows and events. It’s been working with Red, White & BOOM! for 17 years and he says it’s by far the biggest event his team helps produce.
He expected the city would grant the permit for Red, White & BOOM! so when he found out the Fourth of July weekend celebration is not getting the green light in July over COVID19 concerns, he was surprised.
“In a way it’s kind of demoralizing. We really count on being a part of our community and helping out,” he said. “We take pride in being a part of our community and it was so unexpected this year in particular because so many other festivals are going on, we thought for sure it was a go.”
Many of the vendors who make the event possible have been working together at Red, White & BOOM! for decades. They’ve gotten to know each other over the years. Business owners say not only is the lack of an Independence Day Celebration a hit to business, but also a hit to the time they have together.
“COVID strikes again. It’s a disappointment,” said Bill Reynolds, President of Rent-A-John. “We’ve built a team of friendship over the years and it’s something that we look forward to seeing each other and this is going to be another year we don’t, at least for the Fourth of July.”
His business supplies hundreds of portable restrooms for Red, White & BOOM! Along with Page, he’s now looking ahead, hoping the city allows the event to happen later this year.
“We hope they’re able to pull something together,” he said.