FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) After years of being held at IPFW, the annual fireworks display in Fort Wayne will be shot off downtown from One Summit Square in 2014.
Just a few weeks later, the annual Three Rivers Festival fireworks display will take place downtown as well.
The change was announced in a news release issued Thursday morning by the City of Fort Wayne.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps will be playing that evening and the fireworks show that normally takes place after the game will now be part of the One Summit Square display.
The pyrotechnics are set to start at 10 pm, unless the TinCaps game goes long. In that case, the fireworks will begin once the game is over.
For the last few years, both IPFW and the TinCaps sponsored separate shows.
“We were more than happy to host again. The only piece was we simply couldn’t foot the bill for the fireworks too,” said John Kaufeld, IPFW’s Chief Communications Officer.
City officials said they came up with an alternate plan they hope will stay in place for years to come.
“In previous years, IPFW has been the host site. They were not in a position to host the event this year and in years moving forward, so we worked together as a community. The mayor engaged some corporate sponsors and citizens to make sure we could have a nice event for our community. We came together and said let’s come up with a new plan which we did. We engaged several other business leaders in the community that are providing the finances for this and we’re looking forward to a great event,” said John Perlich, spokesperson for the City of Fort Wayne.
City officials hope the move will encourage more people to come out and see everything downtown has to offer.
“Downtown is the center of our city. It’s where a lot of activity happens on a daily basis and it’s just another opportunity for us to showcase our downtown,” said Perlich.
Some people might think the fireworks not being at Parkview Field could be a problem for TinCaps, but field officials actually say it’s kind of a relief.
“It’s a win-win for us. Whether we shoot them off on the field or we shoot them off on the top of the Summit Tower, fireworks are fireworks. We do 30 shows a year on the field. So, from a grounds crew perspective, any time we can move them off the field and put them up there, that just saves us a little bit of wear and tear,” said Keith Winter, head groundskeeper for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Moving the show downtown where more people are expected to show up requires more safety precautions, but it’s something the city said they’re prepared for.
“It’s an event that our public safety personnel are very familiar with and will do a great job making sure that everyone gets here safely, enjoys the shows, and gets home safely as well,” said Perlich.
Moving the show to a new location will also require more work when it comes to the planning process.
“Obviously, logistics are different. We have to get everything up on the roof. That’s 430 foot into the air. We get to use the elevators, thank goodness, but there’s literally over four or five tons of equipment and fireworks to get on the roof,” said Matthew Loraine, event producer with Melrose Pyrotechnics.
Thankfully, Loraine has been doing this sort of work a long time. It’s his 24th season and he has a crew of 15 to help him pull off the show.
“There’s greater distances when you’re shooting rooftop shows, so we’re making sure that we have all the proper distances. We have to reduce the size of shell a little bit compared to the IPFW one, but we have a great variety though. We’re going to be able to put a lot of neat stuff in the sky for you,” said Loraine.
The city plans to release more information on different events going on for 4th of July as the holiday gets closer.