Celebrate America survives weather

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 8, 2004

The Celebrate America 2004 fireworks show appeared to be in jeopardy Friday with rain covering Butler County for most of the day with little hope of letting up.

After much debate, the rain caused a cancellation in the big pre-show parade planned to lead people to the stadium.

However, when the time came for the fireworks show the weather was dry and pleasant.

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The show went off without a hitch much to the delight of the large crowd that gathered inside the Greenville High School's Tiger Stadium

Organizers were pleased with the turnout, despite the stormy weather earlier in the afternoon.

"I was very pleased with the number of people that came out after the bad weather," said Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Lee. "They estimated there were about 2,500 people in the stadium so we were happy about that."

The fireworks show likely reached more people than those inside in the stadium.

"There were probably anywhere from 50 to another 100 people in the middle school area watching the show," said Lee. "That is a rough estimate. We think the fireworks show reached a lot more people than were in the stadium."

Those who did not give up and attended the show were not disappointed.

The fireworks blasted away for quite a while before ending with a grand finale.

Lee said everyone involved were very pleased with the results.

"They are a really good company and we are very happy with the show they did," said Lee. "I think everything turned out really well."

Lee said people have been very vocal in their praise of Celebrate America 2004.

"We have gotten a lot of positive feedback on the event," said Lee. "A lot of people have called to tell us how much they enjoyed it."

The Chamber hopes to build on this year's event and improve every year.

One of the major events that had been planned did not make it through the stormy weather.

The parade, which was supposed to begin at 6:30 and lead into the stadium, was cancelled due to the bad weather.

Main Street program director Nancy Idland said losing the parade was a great disappointment.

"Unfortunately it was so wet and soggy at the time of the parade we had to cancel," said Idland. "It was a big disappointment to miss having it."

Idland hoped people would show the same excitement next year as they had for this year's parade.

"We certainly hope everyone keeps their inspiration for next year," said Idland. "Time will go by very fast and it will be here before we know it. We hope to make this a tradition."

Lee felt the cancellation of the parade because of the weather might have discouraged some people from attending the fireworks show.

"I definitely think the attendance would have been better if it weren't for the weather," said Lee. "I felt like with the weather being bad a lot of people may have stayed at home."

As stormy as conditions had been were throughout Friday Lee said the Chamber was just glad the show went on.

The large turnout was an added bonus.

"We were definitely happy," said Lee. "Everything worked out well."