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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fourth of July Committee Taps Into Creative Juices for Celebration Ideas

Good News - There WILL be fireworks this year for the Fourth of July!
(FTM File)

By Robin Gee

If you were resigned to a quiet and uneventful Fourth of July this year, think again. The SIS BOOM BAH! will be back but in a different form, adjusted to the conditions we find ourselves in today.

After the city of Fort Thomas announced that the usual Fourth of July celebration with parade, picnics and fireworks would not be possible in its traditional form this year, the committee of city staff and citizens who have been dedicated to creating the event each year got to work to come up with alternative ideas and plans.

The committee has settled on two unique opportunities that will provide new ways to celebrate the holiday while also keeping it safe and healthy.

Creativity is at center of celebration

At the June city council meeting, City Administrator Ron Dill shared some of the ideas and the plans that are underway.

The first is a house decorating and talent competition titled "Americana Showcase." Fort Thomas residents can decorate their homes for the holiday and also share their own talents in skits or other creative projects right in their front yards. There will be a number of categories with judging and prizes associated with each category, said Dill.

Presentations and displays will be posted and a drone video will be made to share with the entire community, he said.

"Overall, the idea is that people could still be at home, still be with their families and do things associated with the Fourth of July on a scale that could be shared... taking part in an activity in which the entire community could see what they’ve done," Dill said.

Details for the Americana Showcase

The details on the contest have just been released. Sign up for the house decorating contest by Wednesday, July 1. The decorating/display categories will be:
  • Old Glory — The most use of flags and the most use of red, white and blue
  • Best Americana Street — The Fort Thomas street that best exemplifies patriotism and camaraderie
  • Moment in History — A blast from the past, a recreation of parts of American history
  • National Monument — Recreate some of America's most recognizable landmarks in your front yard
  • Patriotic Attire — Covered head-to-toe in Americana for a whole family photo*
*Photos will be taken of entries thanks to Dave Newman and Nancy Schneider.

For the talent contest, videos must be submitted by Friday, July 3. Participants are also encouraged to perform in their yard during the showcase on July 4 and to let the city know the approximate time of their performance. Categories for the talent contest are:
  • Patriotic Song
  • Patriotic Instrumental
  • Patriotic Dance
  • Patriotic Poem or Dramatic Reading
  • Peoples Choice Award
Rules for entries:
The plan is for people to enjoy a safe holiday. Participants and spectators are encouraged to follow health guidelines including wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. Other no-nos? No throwing candy at the judges or soaking them with water.

Judging will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. From 10 a.m. to noon, residents can drive or walk around (keeping to the sidewalk) to see the displays.

All entries will be featured on the Fort Thomas city website. Each entry will receive a $10 gift certificate to a Fort Thomas eatery. Category winners will receive trophies. Grand Prize is a photo print of the Fort Thomas tower by Chris Stegner.

To participate in the Americana Showcase and for questions, email Sam Shelton at to register or submit your video.

 And, yes, there will be fireworks!

Dill also shared a plan for fireworks. Instead of one big display, packed with onlookers, the committee is working with Rozzi’s fireworks to bring fireworks to three Fort Thomas parks simultaneously — Tower Park, Rossford Park and Highland Hills Park.

He said the Rozzi designers have visited the proposed sites and are working with the committee to create a safe event. Fireworks will be planned to go off at 10 p.m. at a much higher altitude than usual to make it possible to see the display from much farther away.

Access to the parks themselves would be restricted, because the idea is for people to stay home or in their neighborhoods to view the displays.

The Rozzi staff is working out the details and will bring a proposal back to the committee soon. Before the actual event, there will be a testing event on Tuesday, June 23 at 10 p.m. Residents are encouraged to take this opportunity to scout out the best spots in their yards or neighborhood to see the fireworks so they will be ready on July 4.

"I want to thank the committee for taking the time to do what they do for us every year, but most particularly this year, when it’s been difficult to come up with new ideas," said Dill.

Again, note the deadlines for the Americana Showcase. A test of the fireworks will take place at 10 p.m., Tuesday, June 23. To register for the house decorating competition, do so by Wednesday, July 1. Videos for the talent competition are due by Friday, July 3.

You can see the full details below on the Fort Thomas Renaissance Board Facebook Page;

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