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Tampa likely to cancel July 4th fireworks show

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Jane Castor says there probably won’t be a “Boom by the Bay” this year, but the city is considering a virtual option
Fireworks blast off in front of the Tampa Convention Center, at last year's Boom by the Bay in Tampa.
Fireworks blast off in front of the Tampa Convention Center, at last year's Boom by the Bay in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published May 22, 2020
Updated May 22, 2020

TAMPA — When she announced the rebranding and expansion of Tampa’s July 4th fireworks show last year, newly-elected Mayor Jane Castor said “Boom by the Bay” would be a great start to her new administration.

“I want to kick off my time in office with a big bang,” Castor said.

That rebranding followed two disappointing years of glitch-ridden July 4th shows. Castor’s move was a way to put her mark on the holiday, much like her predecessor Bob Buckhorn’s St. Patrick’s Day River O’ Green.

What a difference a year makes. Friday, Castor said because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fireworks show will almost certainly not happen this year.

“We did not plan on Boom by the Bay right now,” Castor said on a Cafè con Tampa Facebook Live appearance. “We don’t intend to bring that large crowd together right now, but again, there’s so many unknowns with this virus.”

Castor did hedge a bit, saying that the city pulled off the planning for last year’s event in “three or four days.”

Her spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said that the city is considering a virtual fireworks show, but nothing definite has been decided.

Across the bay, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman hasn’t decided on the fate of his city’s fireworks show, said spokesman Ben Kirby.

Clearwater has also canceled its event due to the pandemic. The City Council voted Thursday to forgo its fireworks show.

Temple Terrace, however, is still planning to hold a fireworks show at this point, the city manager’s office said.

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