Fanfares & Fireworks returns to town on Wednesday


Fireworks explode in the sky as people watch during the 2012 Fanfare & Fireworks celebration at UF’s Flavet Field.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/file
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.

Patriotic and contemporary music will fill the air while fireworks of red, white and blue, and a few special colors just for Gainesville, will put a spark in Fanfares & Fireworks, which returns Wednesday to the University of Florida Bandshell at Flavet Field.

Facts

Fanfares & Fireworks

What: Gainesville Independence Day celebration featuring live music and fireworks
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, fireworks at 9:40 p.m.
Where: Flavet Field, UF campus
Cost: Free
Note: No dogs, sparklers or alcohol are allowed for safety reasons; coolers are allowed but may be searched by UF police

The free Fourth of July celebration, which is traditionally held on July 3, offers music by a variety of bands and food starting at 7 p.m. followed by a fireworks display at about 9:40 p.m.

Fanfares & Fireworks is an opportunity for people to have picnics on the grass, enjoy music and watch a fireworks show for free, said Sue Wagner, director of community relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and its broadcast stations, which presents the annual event. About 15,000 people are expected to attend Wednesday’s festivities.

“It’s like the kickoff to Independence Day,” Wagner said. “Families can come out and enjoy an evening of music and fireworks to start off the holidays.”

Musical groups performing this year include the contemporary jazz band Richy Stano and Mindwalk, the rock group Mark Gaignard and the Barstool Prophets, and the Gainesville Community Band, which will perform during the fireworks display.

Richy Stano and Mindwalk has performed at major jazz festivals across the state such as SunFest in West Palm Beach and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, guitarist Richy Stano said.

“It’s a day for everybody to celebrate in America,” said Stano. “I love the country, that’s why I live here.”

Classic rock tunes from Queen to The Rolling Stones will have the audience singing along during a set by Mark Gaignard and the Barstool Prophets, said singer Mark Gaignard.

“When you’re invited to play for the whole city on the Fourth of July, it’s a no-brainer,” Gaignard said. “We’re going to put on a great show.”

The UF Billy Mitchell Drill Team Color Guard will join the Gainesville Community Band for a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces.

When the national anthem begins to play, all flags are lowered except for the American flag, said Michael Sullivan, commander of the Billy Mitchell Drill Team. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps will join in the salute.

Although red, white and blue are the colors for Independence Day, people can expect to see a lot of orange and blue.

“I’ve been saving orange and blue (fireworks) just for Gainesville,” said John Casse, co-owner of Skylighters of Florida, which will stage the fireworks.

The Ocala-based company has been providing fireworks for the celebration for about 20 years, Casse said. About 1,000 fireworks will be launched from nearby Hume Field. Golden palm trees, weeping willows, spiders, stars and hearts are just a few of the shapes that will be produced by the fireworks, he said.

“Most of the time the show will start off with a bang and then it will build up throughout the show and it will conclude with the grand finale,” Casse said. “It’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of orange and blue.”

The Independence Day Celebration returned last year after missing the previous year and had been canceled twice in four years due to budget cuts. But an improved economy allowed it to be fully funded this year, Wagner said.

Presented by the UF College of Journalism and Communications and its broadcast stations, including WUFT-TV and commercial radio stations WRUF and Country 103.7 The Gator, the event costs about $30,000 to stage and is made possible by funding from the city of Gainesville and UF Health with additional funding by Florida Credit Union, GRU, UF and others.

During the event, LifeSouth Blood Center will conduct a blood drive and Aramark concessions will be available for purchase.

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