Indianapolis gears up for first fireworks show in 2 years

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been two years since fireworks went off over downtown Indianapolis in celebration of America’s Independence Day.

This year’s 4th of July show promises to be even more spectacular as those fireworks will be launched from a new location and, as a result, explode much closer to the ground.

“If you’re watching the show, it should be more personal because the fireworks are closer to you when you’re looking at it from the ground,” said Indianapolis Fire Department Fire Marshal Chief Michael Beard.

For 50 years, the 4th of July fireworks have been fired off from the roof of the 36-story Regions Tower building at Ohio and Delaware Street, lighting up the downtown sky and visible from all points on the compass.

But this year, because of recent residential development at the base of the Regions Tower, the home of the fireworks has been moved several blocks north to the top of the 500 North Meridian Building across from the Veterans’ Memorial Plaza.

Chief Beard said the fireworks show won’t be pulling any pyrotechnic punches, meaning the same firepower will be launched skyward from a much shorter building.

“They used four-inch shells off of the tower, but the tower being 36 stories, they went much higher because that was 400 feet on top of the 36 stories. We’re now shooting off of a seven-story structure which (the display) is only 400 feet higher than that seventh story,” explained Beard. “The only concern people have is distance. You could see them from much further away when you shot them off from Regions Tower.

“The sight lines are gonna be best of course from the north, east and west. The south, because of the tall buildings, you’re not gonna be able to see it from the south or the Circle or anything like that because of the tall structures,” he said. “There are many structures, there are many locations, gathering spots where you can see the fireworks very well.”

Those locations will be north of downtown, to the west toward IUPUI and the east toward Mass Ave.

“We’re asking people to be patient if they come downtown. Again, not stopping on the interstate or the roadways. With parking free, they can pull over to the parking spots,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Commander Brian Mahone. “We’ve got well over 100 officers to assist people with getting in and out of the downtown area.”

Stretches of Illinois, Meridian, Michigan and North Street will be closed from 9:45 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Sunday during the 21-minute long show.

IFD will maintain a 400-foot radius fall out zone from ground zero for fireworks debris.

“Once the shells explode, they explode completely. The only concern is if a shell doesn’t explode, and that’s what the fallout zone is for,” said Beard, who cautions celebrants to leave their own fireworks, as well as pets, at home for the safety of their families and neighbors watching the show.

IFD has already begun placing fire suppression equipment on the roof of the 500 North Meridian building, though the actual fireworks shells won’t be positioned until this weekend.

IMPD will beef up its presence downtown in anticipation of the biggest weekend crowds since before the COIVD-19 pandemic shutdown in early 2020.

“We’ll have several officers down here. Our partners over at the Indiana State Police will also have officers down. We’ll be working with Capitol Police,” said Mahone. “We’ll make sure we have our traffic units down here, so you’ll see our presence. We’ll have plainclothes, we’ll have officers who aren’t in uniform patrolling the area, so we’ll have well over 100 officers down here to make sure the public is safe and has a safe event.” 

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