Riverfront brings new fireworks, big crowds, bad traffic

By Anna Yee

July 3, 2013 Updated Jul 3, 2013 at 10:10 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- America's birthday celebration will soon get Central Illinois' skies booming.

"You're going to have to pick your jaw up off the ground after the show is over," said Randy Rundle, operations manager of JMP Integrated Media, which is putting on the show with UnityPoint Health Methodist and a handful of sponsors.

Red, White, and Boom keeps thousands of people coming back to the Peoria and East Peoria riverfront for the largest Fourth of July fireworks show in all of Illinois.

Organizers expect the nearly $100,000 show to draw a crowd of up to 200,000 people, weather permitting.

"If Chuck Collins is right, and I think that he is," said Rundle, "we're going to have some of the best weather that we've had in years for Boom, so we actually do expect a really large crowd. The key for the crowd is to get here as early as you can, stake out your spot, and then after the fireworks show is over, just chill for a little while."

That'll give time for traffic to clear.

Different parts of downtown will be closed for most of the holiday, including Washington.

Water Street, between State and Hamilton, will be blocked off Thursday morning before the Firecracker run at 7:30 a.m.

If you are driving, police say the farther you park, the quicker you'll get home.

"The main thing we're encouraging people to do is to park somewhere north up by Adams Street and then walk down there," said Lieutenant Steve Roegge, of the Peoria Police Dept. "The closer you park to the riverfront, probably the longer you're going to be held up with traffic."

The Bob Michel bridge will be closed Thursday from about 9:15 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

You can also use City Link's park and ride bus service for a dollar each way from Evergreen Square.

Whichever route you take, you'll want to get there before the 9:30 p.m. start time.

"We have some fireworks effects that we've never used in our show nor have they been seen in this part of the country," said Rundle. "So, we're looking forward to that."

For more information on Red, White and Boom and traffic, visit the websites above.

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