NEW BRITAIN - As communities around the country celebrated Americaâ€™s 242nd birthday, New Britain brought out fair food, bounce house entertainment and music to Stanley Quarter Park.
New Britainâ€™s 4th of July festivities were a joy for residents from the surrounding area. The celebration is called the Great American Boom, and this was the cityâ€™s 26th year of the event.
â€śPeople know that weâ€™re one of the biggest firework shows in the state of Connecticut,â€ť Matt Scofield, New Britain Recreation Services Coordinator, said. â€śItâ€™s a community event that the entire city gets behind because itâ€™s our chance to shine on Americaâ€™s birthday.â€ť
The event space set up along the top part of the park overlooking the pond was a sight to behold.
Food items featured a line of fried Oreos, fresh squeezed lemonade and steak and cheese sandwiches. There was also a rock wall, a bungee jump station and Zorb Ball racing set up for attendees to enjoy.
Music came from Latanya Farrell Band, as they played classic Motown and soul hits. The music was expected to continue through the fireworks, Scofield said.
About 30,000 people were expected to watch the show, Scofield said.
â€śItâ€™s a really good event,â€ť said Sean Adomako-Mensah. He and his nephew, Khamel Reddinghall, 8, both of New Britain, were driving through the city and decided to stop by after seeing all the activity, he said.
â€śAnd now the fun begins,â€ť Reddinghall said after the two just spoke with a man walking around on stilts. The stilt man asked another group of young males if they wanted to play a quick game of basketball.
Browsing all the food options and toys was Carla Thompson and Gigi Abraham, 3, who live nearby to the park and decided to walk down to check it out.
â€śProbably a slushy,â€ť Thompson said when asked what she thought was the best way to cool down.
Since National Weather Service issued a heat advisory and a high of 93 degrees was in the forecast all the vendors were selling water, Scofield said. Water was also stored up by the Parks and Rec. department and EMS crews on hand, as lifeguard staff from the cityâ€™s two pools and New Britain police members were keeping an eye out for any heat exhaustion. â€śWe have a lot of eyes and ears on this park to make sure everyoneâ€™s enjoying the 4th but also responsibly having a good time,â€ť Scofield said.
â€śThe kids have never seen a big fireworks show before so I looked online and this one looked like the best,â€ť with its programs and events for kids, Nicole Church of Norwich said.
Church and the family she was with wanted to attend an event in a safe area and since heard about the big crowds they arrived at 9:30 a.m. to stake out a spot.
â€śWeâ€™ve just been hanging out,â€ť Church added, with a visit to nearby A.W. Stanley pool. â€śItâ€™s a great park,â€ť pointing out the pond and playground area for kids.
â€śYes!â€ť shouted Isabella Cholewa, 11, when asked if she was ready for the 24-minute firework show.
Also set up east of the pond were Debbie Perron and Carla Plummer, both of Bristol.
â€śTheyâ€™re fantastic here,â€ť Perron, who attended the event 3 years ago, said of the fireworks.
â€śWe just need a couple footrests and a fan,â€ť Plummer said.
The event was estimated to cost around $100,000 with $25,000 of that coming from the fireworks, said Scofield. The majority of the costs came from overtime staffing on a holiday. Thousands were fundraised for the event, Scofield said, mainly through a â€śQuarters for Stanley Quarterâ€ť campaign run by Alderman Brian Keith Albert. The inflatable and music entertainment costs were also offset by the vendor and ticket sales, Scofield said.
â€śItâ€™s something that I look forward to,â€ť Vincent Placeres, owner of The Kitchen and Mofongo, said. Mofongo was set up as a food vendor Wednesday. â€śThe amount of people that come out for this, itâ€™s not just people from Newington and Plainville. Itâ€™s a great, great show.â€ť
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org