Red, White & BOOM! preview: Here comes the Boom!

From the July 3, 2014 edition

Get ready for an explosion of colors, a surplus of vendors and a whole lot of traffic, because on July 3 the 34th annual Red, White, & Boom celebration will take over the Arena District area. Whether you prefer to join the chaotic crowd Downtown or comfortably watch the fireworks from a distance at your favorite bar, you won’t want to miss this year’s epic show. Fireworks launch at 10 p.m. sharp; however, the party scene begins long before with performances from local bands like All Star Jammerz and Barefoot Swagger starting at 12 p.m. Here are Alive’s handpicked hotspots for this year’s festivities.

Places near and dear to BOOM!

Get a “Taste of BOOM!” — So you’re one of the brave ones, eh? With two stages featuring some of Columbus’ most rocking local bands, a variety of vendors and a spectacular view of the fireworks, Nationwide Boulevard will be hosting this year’s Taste of BOOM! starting at 3 p.m. Vendors include some of Central Ohio’s most delightful places to indulge in, such as Gordon Biersch and Mickey’s Late Night Slice.

Cozy at COSI —COSI invites you in its doors at 3 p.m. for a fun-filled day before the Midwest’s most awe-inspiring firework show of the year. Explore all the exhibits and enjoy a picnic-themed dinner buffet that will be provided between 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dinner will include classic summertime treats such as hot dogs, hamburgers, coleslaw, pasta salad, lemonade, popcorn and, of course, cookies. After the meal, you can kick back, relax and watch the show from the lawn. The best part? Parking’s included! Tickets range anywhere from $55-$75.

Comfortable distance from BOOM!

Best view at The Boat House — Not only does The Boat House Restaurant at Confluence Park offer a beautiful view of Downtown, it also happens to be located directly in front of where the fireworks take off. At 6 p.m., guests can watch the show with their choice of three seating arrangements: on the patio deck and indoor seating —first and second rows — are available to book via reservation. Regardless of where you sit, everyone will have access to an open bar and an array of buffet-style stations with salad, seafood, brats and brisket, mashed potatoes and, for dessert, a chocolate fountain along with an assortment of pie.

Official after-party — The Three-Legged Mare is the place to be after the fireworks end. Retain that celebratory excitement with Southern Tier’s Farmer’s Tan IPA, which will be on special for $4. Starting at 9 p.m., you can jam to a live performance by party band Sonic Boom. Drink up, fist pump and sway until the Fourth comes your way.