Red, White and Boom Columbus, Ohio 2009

Summer is officially full on!  June is quickly becoming a memory (it’s been two whole days now) and it’s time to turn focus to July.  July is a special month for us as a nation for in this month we celebrate one of the most significant events in our short history.  My birthday!

Some like to think that the parades and fireworks displays, backyard barbecues, cookouts and community gatherings centered around the July 4th weekend are in celebration of our nation’s independence.  Whatever helps you sleep at night, friends.  That stuff is for me!

Actually, it’s not.  My special day isn’t until the 10th.  Fact is,John Adams envisioned these celebrations on the day before the official signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776 and stated such in a letter to his wife “….solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Red, White and Boom!

July 3rd Columbus, OH will hold true to Mr. Adams’ wishes with the 29th presentation of Red, White and Boom! The celebration is a day long event held in downtown Columbus.  The atmosphere is essentially festival.  There are numerous stages with live entertainment, food, parades, activities and of course, fireworks.
Red, White and Boom! Event Map

Activities throughout the downtown area begin at 10:00 am and will culminate with a 27 minute fireworks display scheduled to begin at 10:00 pm.  For a more thorough list, be sure to check the Red, White and Boom! website.

Here’s a few tips to make your Red, White and Boom! experience a memorable one—in the good way.

  • Do not bring alcohol, portable grills, or generators.  There are more than enough food vendors and alcohol may be purchased and consumed in the Taste of Boom area in the Arena District.
  • Do not bring portable swimming pools.  Seriously, it’s in the FAQ section.  It must have been an issue at some time in the past.
  • Also, do not bring pop-up tents or canopies.  They will be confiscated.  Lawn chairs and blankets are perfectly acceptable.
  • Do not bring your own fireworks–even sparklers.  They too will be confiscated.  And honestly, do you think that your $2 Black Cat Popper is going to compare with the 27 minutes of sonic explosions scheduled for 10:00 pm?
  • There are dozens of public parking facilities in the downtown area.  Keep in mind that they will fill early.  Very early!  Carpool when you can or make use of the COTA  services (Central Ohio Transit Authority).
    COTA will be providing extended local route service for Red, White & BOOM! on the following routes:#1 Livingston Ave.

    #1 Cleveland Ave.

    #2 E. Main St.

    #2 N. High St.

    #3 W. Mound St.

    #3 Northwest Blvd.

    #4 Indianola Ave.

    #4 Parsons Ave.

    #5 W. Fifth Ave.

    #6 Sullivant Ave.

    #6 Mt. Vernon Ave.

    #7 Whittier St.

    #7 Neil Ave.

    #8 Hamilton Ave.

    #8 Frebis Ave.

    #9 Leonard Ave./Brentnell Ave.

    #10 E. Broad St.

    #10 W. Broad St.

    #11 Oak St./Bryden St.

    #11 St. Clair Ave.

    #15 Grove City

    #16 Long St.

    #16 S. High St.

    #18 Kenny Road

    #19 Arlington/Grandview

    COTA will provide frequent service traveling downtown on local routes until approximately 9:00 p.m.

    Express service to downtown from 5 Park and Ride locations will continue between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. These include:


    Reynoldsburg Park & Ride

    #45 Reynoldsburg Express

    2100 Birchview Dr. South

    Near Birchview Dr. & Eastgreen Blvd.


    Westerville Park & Ride

    #34 Annehurst Express

    W. Main St. & Collegeview Rd., east of Cleveland Ave. on the north side of W. Main St.


    Grove City Park & Ride

    #64 Grove City Express

    2321 Old Stringtown Rd.

    Southwest corner of Stringtown Rd. & Parkmead Dr.


    Dublin Park & Ride

    #58 Dublin Express

    4450 Dale Dr.

    Northeast of US 33/SR 161


    Crosswoods Park & Drive

    #31 Worthington Express

    7460 Huntington Park Dr.

    Northeast of US 23/North High St. & I-270

    After the fireworks, buses will leave downtown from designated Red, White & BOOM! boarding zones at 10:45 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and midnight.

    COTA Local Fares:

    $1.50-Adults (each way)

    $.75-Children 48? tall and over, through age 12 and for Senior/Key/ADA ID card holders (each way)

    F REE-Children under 48? tall (limit 3 with adult family members)

    Round trip Express fares:


    $2.00-Children 48? tall and over, through age 12 and Senior/Key/ADA ID card holders (each way)

    FREE- Children under 48? tall (limit 3 with adult family member)

    COTA’s customer service call-in service hours have been extended to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. the day of the event to assist customers with their transportation needs. To reach customer service, call 614-228-1776.

  • The best viewing areas will be in Batelle Park and Genoa Park along the river, Nationwide Blvd, Long St, and Washington St.  Bear in mind there are huge crowds and spots will be taken up quickly.  There are also a few local hotels that provide some good vantage points to view the fireworks but unless you booked them last August you’re SOL.
  • Boats are allowed on the river but not within the fireworks zone.  Direct you questions regarding this to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department at (614) 645-3300.
  • The Independence Day Parade starts at 6:00pm and will follow a route along Broad St. and north onto Front St.  Early is key here if you wish to catch the parade as over 125,000 people are expected to line the streets to view it.

For families attending the celebrations, the Childrens Park is open from noon to 6:00 pm.  Located along the riverfront between Long and Broad streets the Childrens Park will have entertainment, inflatables, face painting and loads of family friendly activities.  Make sure to stop by the Childrens Park at KidsLinked Central for a free safety bracelet that you can write your name and cell phone number and place on your kids in case they get lost.  Click here for the Official Parent Guide of Red, White and Boom!

Red, White and Boom! in downtown Columbus is the perfect way to celebrate our nation’s independence with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends.  Just remember, be safe and have fun.  And save a little something for the 10th, when we’ll really have reason to celebrate!

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