Sparks will fly and colors will burst overhead Wednesday as the City of Wauseon hosts its annual 4th of July celebration at Dorothy B. Biddle Park.
Family activities will be held 5-9 p.m. They will include inflatables for the kids, DJ Nune Molina, and a variety of food offerings including Snowie Summers Shaved Ice, Blooming Tasty Taters, deep-fried vegetables, Pop’s Home Made Ice Cream and Apple Dumplings, S & T Munchie Connection, and Fatboyz by Al and Zoe. Funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, elephant ears, and Dawg’s ‘N’ Fixins will also be available.
The evening will conclude with a pyro-musical fireworks spectacular at 10 p.m., presented by the Wauseon Fireman’s Association. The approximately 20-minute show will be provided by Legendary Entertainment of Commercial Point, Ohio, and Magic in the Sky of San Antonio, Texas.
Setting up the fireworks display is a 12-hour process that will begin Wednesday morning. It will be assisted by several members of the Wauseon Fire Department who are certified pyrotechnicians.
The approximately $28,000 fireworks extravaganza will be relatively the same style show presented each year by the city, although some new music has been added, Fire Chief Rick Sluder said.
He said the show will go on in the event of a rain shower but will be canceled if inclement weather involves a more severe storm or one that includes lightning. In that case, the fireworks display will be moved to July 4. Sluder said updates can be found on Wauseon’s city website or the WFD Facebook page.
Police Chief Keith Torbet advised attendees to arrive at the park between 9-9:15 p.m. at the latest for a parking space, since about 100 less parking spots will be available this year. He said an area on the north side of the main baseball field usually used for parking won’t be available due to the persistent rain the last couple of months.
“We’re hoping we can use them but right now we’re not counting on it,” Torbet said.
He also reminded residents that parking spaces at Biddle Park were filled by 9:35 p.m. at last year’s fireworks event. He said the park is closed to parking when space is filled.
Banister and Wagner drives will close at 9:45 p.m.; visitors will be able to exit Biddle Park only from Glenwood Avenue. Due to road work on Shoop Avenue, exited traffic reaching Airport Highway will be directed eastbound, and traffic reaching Linfoot Street will be directed eastbound and southbound.
Torbet said the drive home will prove better if drivers avoid Shoop Avenue altogether.
“Take the extra 15 minutes and go the long way around. It will make your life easier,” he said. “If you can stay away from Shoop, you’re better off.”
Due to the road construction, he also advised spectators to reconsider traditional viewing spots on Shoop Avenue, such as St. Caspar Catholic Church and the plaza housing the Expositor offices and Dollar Tree. If they do choose to park in areas off of Shoop Avenue, be patient when the time comes to leave, he said.
Torbet said problems arise when drivers try to rush through slow traffic following the fireworks. “Relax – take it slow,” he said. “The traffic will begin moving.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.