Jun 30, 2022 - Things to Do

A first-timer's guide to Red, White & Boom

Fireworks explode over the Scioto River
Fireworks explode over the Scioto River during Red, White & Boom in 2019. Photo: Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

The Midwest's biggest and brightest fireworks display finally returns tomorrow after two years.

  • Never been to Red, White & Boom? Here's how to hide your first-timer status.

Ice breaker: There's nothing more patriotic than waking up at the crack of dawn to claim a spectating spot at a public park. It's tradition.

  • So when you see the hardcore folks sitting on the Scioto River banks inside a square of yellow caution tape, that's the perfect time to make a snarky comment.
  • "They're in their Boom boxes." Yeah. That's a good one.

Pro tip: We call it "Boom." It just sounds better.

Fun facts: Impress your friends with some trivia on Boom's 40th anniversary: It brings in 400,000 annual spectators and is the city's largest single-day event.

Be prepared: Wear sunscreen. Bring water. Pack a snack — or patience for food lines.

Travel tip: Take the $4 round-trip on COTA to avoid the second round of fireworks — angry drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Where to watch: Anywhere, really. You can't miss it. Squeeze in at the Main Street bridge or a parking garage roof and get ready to "ooh" and "aah."

If you go: The festival opens on the riverfront at 11am, with fireworks launching from Genoa Park starting at 10pm. Free!

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