By ANITA TODD | Contributing Writer
DAVENPORT – According to city officials, Davenport’s Fourth of July Celebration promises to be impressive enough to give Disney’s nightly fireworks extravaganza a run for its money.
The fastest growing city in the county, Davenport will also present the county’s largest fireworks show — a $30,000 display paid for entirely by donations from local businesses — this Independence Day, beginning at 9:15 p.m.
Beginning at 3 p.m., attendees are invited to enjoy live music and entertainment, as well as food and craft vendors. Residents are also welcome to bring picnic items such as grills, tents and blankets and are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs for the fireworks, as well.
“We always have a great turnout — lots of families having picnics,” said Davenport City Manager Kelly Callihan. “It’s just a fun event to attend.”
This is the fourth year that the city has held the event and its attendance gets bigger each year, with more than 8,000 expected this time around.
Callihan said that attendees can expect to see a robust display from the largest fireworks company in the world – Santore.
“Santore does the fireworks for the Daytona 500 and Homestead race and others all over the world. They are the best,” Callihan said. “For us, they make the fireworks and then send a team to set up about a week before the actual event.”
Choreographed to music, the fireworks are fired electronically for about 20 minutes, barraging the audience with an umbrella of fantastic colors and festive explosions.
“Our entire 20-minute show is like the Disney finale — over and over,” Callihan said. “It’s good stuff.”
With the city tripling in size over recent years, Callihan and other city officials and staff are working hard to ensure a good quality of life for the residents — including holding events such as this.
“This community needs and wants its own events,” he said.
Of course, city staff won’t have long to bask in the glow of the fireworks, either. Planning for next year will begin as soon as the smoke clears from the fireworks this year.
This year’s event will be held at the Lewis Mathews Sports Complex, 400 Palm Street, in Davenport. Parking is free and personal fireworks are not allowed. In case of inclement weather, the fireworks will begin as soon as the rain clears.
For more information, visit mydavenport.org or call (863) 419-3300, ext. 138.