City fireworks show tonight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

As the countdown to 2004 nears, the countdown for the final touches on preparations for the New Years' Eve fireworks extravaganza at the Kiwanis Center hosted by the Andalusia Department of Leisure Services began Tuesday.

According to ADLS Director Dwight Mikel, the fireworks will begin to be placed Wednesday morning, but several of the inflatable apparatuses for the kids are already in place.

"These (two apparatuses) are actually for the toddlers, aged two to four years," Mikel said. "The bigger kids will have larger ones."

There will be two other inflatable play areas for older kids, said Mikel.

"We'll have them located in the lawn area," he said. "One will be located in between two of the poles; that leaves plenty of room for the parents and other people to listen and enjoy the music."

Mikel said the "bouncy dens" for the toddlers will hopefully clear up a major problem with last year's celebration.

"The toddlers really didn't have anywhere to go," he said. "They were getting bounced around (roughly) on the bouncy apparatus with the older kids. These two are strictly for the toddlers."

Mikel said the fireworks will be kept on a piece of private land just behind the Kiwanis Center.

There will be "quite a variety of fireworks, some loud and some colorful."

"They will be shot straight up, and people sitting on lawn chairs will be able to seem them in plain view," said Mikel.

"All people have to do is turn their attention to the North and see the fireworks, but you can pretty much see the fireworks from anywhere (on the fair grounds). There are large parking areas and large grass areas in which to view. They could also, if they wanted to go out to the soccer fields with their lawn chairs. We will have concessions out in those areas as well," he said.

The length of the fireworks display will be approximately twenty minutes.

"The exact time of the display depends," Mikel said. "We talked to the (Pyrotecnico) coordinator, and we told him that we'd prefer for the fireworks to be spread out, all leading up to the finale."

The department announced at a previous city council meeting the switch from Zambelli, the long-time fireworks provider, to Pyrotecnico. Mikel said the new company gave an impressive demonstration at the Babe Ruth Tournament during the summer.

"That was kind of like an audition for future displays," he said. "They got the job."

Mikel expects a large crowd.

"We'll have anywhere from 4,000-5,000 people to come out. It may not be quite as many people as we had for the Halloween on the Square, but there will be a crowd. You just never know."

The weather is expected to be pleasant, which should help the crowd, according to Mikel.

"We'll have soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, and hot chocolate. We expect to sell a lot of soft drinks with the younger people. It's expected to be warm, but as the temperature drops when the sun goes down, we'll probably sell more coffee and hot chocolate."

The gates will open at 4:30 p.m.

"We're encouraging people to come out and bring their lawn chairs, listen to the music, and let the kids play."

The band, Keith Williams and the 2nd Nature Band, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will play at least an hour after the fireworks, which start at 7:30 p.m.

"We encourage everybody to come out early and enjoy the evening," said Mikel.