by David Miller
Loveland, Oh. - Old timers agreed that the size of the crowd in Historic Downtown Loveland for the Fourth of July was by far the largest they have ever seen for any event; ever. Most replied, “Five to ten thousand.” when asked for an estimate. Big spread, yes. But undisputed… it was “large and fun.”
The festivities were recorded here for Loveland Magazine TV, by local videographer Bob Kessler. He recorded the parade, an interview with Loveland firefighter, Harold Gregory who lit the fireworks, the activities in downtown, and the crowd enjoying the sky exploding.
Loveland Magazine was the only newspaper covering the Independence Day celebration, dubbed the Firecracker Festival by the producers, the Loveland Area Chamber of Commerce.
The weather was fantastic with the high not even hitting 80 degrees, with low humidity.
The decision to open up West Loveland Avenue, or more bureacraticly speaking, to “close” West Loveland Avenue in Historic Downtown, was popular. It was where the main entertainment stage, pop-corn, BBQ, and other local vendors, and mainstay businesses could benefit from the crowd in the large, well lighted, open space that was created. Local businesses reported a good days sales, especially the eateries with hour-long waits. Not predicting the popularity of the festival, street vendors, to the disappointment of many, sold out of food and drink, much too early.
The event spread north along the Loveland Bike Trail down to Nisbet park for children activities like bounce houses and crafts. Mascots such as the Loveland Tiger posed for cell-phone pictures.The amphitheater in the park was also a second stage for entertainment, however those seats remained virtually empty, being almost a quarter mile from the main activities and food. Opening up the downtown proved once again how antiquated, ill-conceived, and poorly designed Nisbet Park is for almost any type of entertainment. Adding to the stage facing the wrong way, away from most of the users of the park, is lack of maintenance, and poor lighting. The park did prove once again however, to be a popular place to view the annual fireworks show, competing with the Col. Thomas Paxton bridge over the scenic Little Miami where spectators get a view of the fireworks from about a thousand feet away with the bonus of reflections of rockets red glare off of the green water. The bridge was closed to vehicles during the fireworks show.
Police Chief Tim Sabransky said that traffic flow during the closings went as expected, with no major incidents. He said that traffic cleared fairly quickly after the last explosion, even though the downtown business district remained closed until after the festival ended later in the evening. Sabransky also said that there was no major incidents during the day long activities and no arrests. Only one person needed medical attention for a minor injury.
One festival goer, who attends like festivals in Cincinnati commented around 10 PM how clean the roads and sidewalks were after most of the crowd went home. “They actually use the trash cans here in Loveland.”
Leaving Nisbet Park and the bridge after the fireworks the crowd was described as, “Zombie throngs.”
The Rusty Griswolds stole the show and are the perfect band to bring out and maintain just the right family atmosphere for an event like this. They have a following, and a Loveland following for sure. Throughout much of their performance, that never waned with enthusiasm towards their fans, children are allowed on stage with them. They joke that they are sitters while the moms go to the beer booth. Yeah, it felt that safe. And, despite a lot of drinking it remained a family event throughout. One of the last acts of the night was impromptu children dancing in the middle of West Loveland Avenue to the Rusty’s, 80’s rock and roll. The Rustys have been voted the Cincinnati area’s best cover band six times. Hosted by The Spirit of Cincinnatus and the band, the annual Rusty Ball is Cincinnati’s premier collaborative fundraiser. It began in 2008, the event attended by more than 4,000, has generated $1,915,286 in support of 333 charitable organizations throughout the region.
Although, less a celebration of independence than a summer bash of food, dancing, and firecrackers, this festival will for sure strive to become better in 2015. Only problem for the Chamber is that this one will be so incredibly hard to beat. It was suggestrd by one fan, that an improvement would be... "Next year it should be two days long."
Local celebrities revealed within this LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV slide show of the 4th of July - Were you one of them?