published Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Chattanooga's July 4 Pops concert at Coolidge Park canceled: City faced dilemma

After dire forecasts of severe weather throughout the area for this Fourth of July weeks, many cities — including — decided to cancel or reschedule their fireworks displays.

Dan Bowers, president of ArtsBuild, one of the organizations behind Chattanooga’s Pops on the River concert at Coolidge Park, said the city decided to simply cancel the event rather than reschedule.

Bowers didn’t know the full cost of the event and Lacie Stone, spokeswoman for Mayor Andy Berke’s office, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday night.

But Bowers said he did know the cancellation wasn’t a total financial loss for the city.

“Some of the things we did not have to pay for because the event did not happen,” he said.

He added that the rain date for the event would have been Thursday, but a similar rainy forecast for the Fourth dampened any hopes of simply postponing the fireworks and concert by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Orchestra.

Bowers said he “hated like crazy to call it like that,” and that the decision wasn’t made until 1 p.m. Wednesday. Bowers said, ultimately, it was about safety.

“It was just not worth the roll of the dice,” he said.

He added that he couldn’t remember the last time Pops on the River was canceled.

“This is definitely the first time in a long time,” he said.

Other groups backing Pops on the river were the city of Chattanooga, Sunny 92.3 FM WDEF radio, Chick-fil-A, Integrity Automotive Group and Integrity Chevrolet.

Chattanooga wasn’t alone in its decision to cancel Fourth of July Festivities. Fort Oglethorpe chucked their big band and fireworks. Collegdale and Soddy-Daisy decided to move their celebrations to later in the year.

Lake Winnie postponed its fireworks display until Saturday and Sunday nights.

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