- 2012 Regatta Fireworks will be Saturday, July 7th at 10 PM.
Independence Day a.k.a. the 4th of July to we ’kids’ both young and old alike! Considering the history of the day we’re celebrating and the events surrounding America’s independence it would be wrong not to at least take a moment to ponder the ACTUAL bombs bursting in air that Francis Scott Key, lyricist of “The Star Spangled Banner”, bore witness to during the War of 1812. On the whole most of us just want to see some colorful lights blazing across the night sky and hear the thunderous reports as these modern non-martial shells burst in air!
To that point I now offer my opinions of WHERE to watch the colorful display from:
1. Downtown Madison (Bicentennial Park)
- Pros: As lovely as Madison is there aren’t a great many points in downtown from which to clearly view the fireworks. The BEST view from downtown is from the river. The river itself is where the barges that are the staging area for the fireworks are located and it is THE place to be if you want to FEEL the report of the shells as they burst.
- Cons: You have to get there EARLY (gates open to the public for free admission at 6 p.m.) and the show doesn’t start until 10 p.m.in order to get a seat and even then there are NO guarantees that you’ll find an open spot to sit. The proximityto those explosions is not for the faint of heart! Small children will likely be terribly frightened by the severity of that sound and the crowd down there has never been a place that I wanted to take my kids. Just too small a space with too many people packed into it.
2. A Rooftop
- Pros: Elevation is what it’s all about! Atop one of the many buildings downtown you’re sitting above most of the trees and,by virtue of the fact that you’ll be sitting on a rooftop,the surrounding skyline will be below your view of the show.
- Cons: First of all,do you,or anyone you know have rooftop access? If not then the rest of this paragraph will be useless to you. If you do have access then you should then consider these factors: rooftops are potentially dangerous,if you have children you may want to rethink this type of venue since you may be too busy watching the kids to enjoy the fireworks show,or vise versa. The means by which you access the roof should be considered too. Crawl through a window,climb a ladder or open a door;which is the method you’ll get up there by? What seems simple ,safe,and easy in the light of day may be anything but when it gets dark;not to mention if you’ve imbibed at all while there.
3. Clifty Falls State Park
- Pros: Another potential location on the hilltop is Clifty Falls State Park. The view from the Inn is incredible and sweeping. I have also been told that the view from atop the fire observation tower in the park is a fine spot for fireworks watching. The tower is a bit off the beaten path but not hard to get to. Plus the park has campfire food and a concert from the Madison Community Band at 7:30
- Cons: There may be limited space ,so I suggest getting there a bit early to claim a spot,also you will have to pay for entry into the park which is $5.00 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $7.oo for out of state. The Observation Tower is not a spot to take the family,it is literally an observation tower and one must climb quite a few stairs to reach the open deck at the top. There is no lighting at the spot and there isn’t much room on the tower’s deck,so it would be a tight squeeze for any more than a few individuals.
4. State Hospital
- Pros: The old Madison State Hospital grounds are a fantastic place to go for a view of the fireworks! The crowd is SMALL (compared with the river) and the view is great. The hospital grounds are well elvated and quite close the edge of the hill itself so they overlook downtown quite nicely.
- Cons: The State Hospital Grounds are dark,and tree filled. Dark is a plus for the fireworks but a minus for finding your way back to your car,so bring a light! The trees,while plentiful aren’t as much a detriment as I may be making them sound. With a little stategic placement of your blanket/chairs they shouldn’t much be in the way, however that may also depend on the wind and the direction the fireworks are blown. Mosquitos can be bad at this venue as well so please consider that factor before going and take the needed precautions!
No matter where you go to watch the fireworks in Madison this year,please be patient with the traffic and other watchers and,most importantly, HAVE FUN!