(SEYMOUR) - Seymour officials decided Monday the annual Fourth of July fireworks display at Freeman Field Park will take place as scheduled tonight.
January Wetzel, of the Tribune reports, that's a result of thunderstorms that drenched that area with desperately needed rain on Sunday.
" Our fire and safety team has been monitoring the area where fireworks will be held," Gloria Culli¬son of the mayor's office said.
A decision was made to continue with plans to hold the Fourth of July fireworks at Freeman Field."
That's good news for many area residents, as the event is a big draw, attracting crowds of up to 2,500 at the park alone.
Jeff Vance, the city's parks and recreation director, said that number increases greatly when you count people watching the show from other places.
"That doesn't include all the people that park along Highway 11, at the airport, at Jackson School, Goecker's and those who just sit out in their yards and watch," Vance said.
After weeks without rain and several days of blistering heat, conditions were looking too dry for the show, which is put on by the city's parks and recreation department with support from Kremer's Urban Pharmaceuticals and Radio 96.3 WJAA.
Many communities in Indiana had already canceled their Fourth of July fireworks events.
Jackson County Board of Commissioners de¬clared a burn ban because of those conditions, and that ban is still in effect.
Although the local ban does not affect the personal use of fireworks, area officials are urging residents to not use the devices this summer.
Vance said after walking the field area where the fireworks will be lit, he and Seymour Fire Chief Brad Lucas decided to go ahead with the show as planned.
As an added safety measure, Vance said a Seymour firetruck and a tanker from Jack¬son Washington Volunteer Fire Department will be set up near where the fireworks will be lit.
"We're lucky we are still doing it, but we still have to take precautions," Vance said. "If we hadn't got rain Sunday, we would have canceled it. The rain was key. It has helped, but we are still very dry and could use some more rain."
He advised anyone parking in the grassy area in the park east of the ditch not to leave their cars running.
"It could be a fire hazard," he said.
He also said to arrive early for parking.
"If you're coming past 8:30 p.m., you aren't going to get a spot," he said.
Had the show been canceled because of the drought, Vance said it would have been the first time he could remember ever having to do so.
"We've canceled because of rain, but never because of a drought," he said.
The free display is set to begin at 10 p.m. at the park. To ensure the event is safe and family-friendly, alcohol is not allowed and people should not bring their own fireworks, officials said.
Vance said Kremer's has contributed $15,000 again this year to make the show a $22,000 dis-play.
"The show just gets better and better every year," Vance said. "You can tell from the crowd response at the end. When you have a positive event you want to keep it going."
Special 3D viewing glasses will be available to the first 600 children to visit the 96.3 Coolbus at Freeman Field Park before the show.
Other activities planned for the day include half-price admission to Shields Park Pool from noon to 5 p.m. and the free Music in the Park concert at the Shields Park bandstand.
Performers this year include Brilyn Terrell of Seymour playing from noon to 1 p.m. and the local TOG Band, which will take the stage from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The pool will not be open for the evening session.
Concessions will be available for purchase, but those attending are encouraged to bring coolers and picnic lunches and lawn chairs to enjoy the concert.
"It's a fun day for the community," Vance said. "We just want everyone to be safe."
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org