City Event on Rain or Shine
by: Pat Hernandez, July 2, 2010 5:07:21 pm
Houston's Freedom over Texas celebration is by far, the city's signature event. It takes place at Eleanor Tinsley Park on Allen Parkway. Despite the heavy showers downtown, organizers have been busy setting up the venues. Susan Christian is with the Mayor's Office of Special Events.
"We are always very conscious of safety, and we're ready. We have people who have been working on this show for decades, very competent professionals and we keep an eye on the weather, but while we think safety first, we have a little something for everyone, and the music out here, Pat, is just gonna be phenomenal."
She says the event begins at 4pm.
"If you don't want to pay 8-dollars at the gate, bring a can of food. You know what, it's really great. The Houston Food Bank, they take care of so many people who are hungry — 140 thousand, 150 thousand every week, and half of those are kids. So come on, let's do something for our fellow Houstonians that are less fortunate, and what a better day to do them on July Fourth. Bring a can, get in free. It's great."
Freedom over Texas is home to the largest land based fireworks display, which is choreographed to music. Paula Craig is the show's producer. I caught up with her as she dodged the rain and met with her staff, city officials and the Houston fire marshal. She says the rain won't delay the pyro-technics, which are set off by computer.
"That's actually really helpful when it gets wet, because we don't have to do it old style. We don't have to have any quick match out there, anything chained together. Every thing gets its own little electric pulse, so all the ignition parts can be sort of kept dry and under lids and things like that Fireworks in the rain, it's still such a neat experience."
Craig says the show releases the most fireworks in the most creative fashion.
"Lot of shots, going up from a lot of locations in intricate patterns, timed to the music, and that's what really makes it. As funs as all of that is, those fireworks are really just icing on the cake for an amazing event, even in the rain. Wear your goulashes and come on out."
The major underwriters allow the city to present Freedom over Texas without worrying about budget crisis. Fireworks are set off at about 9:30. The event wraps up at 10pm.