AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Akron Mayor Plusquellic announced that the city's 4th of July fireworks display over the Akron Innerbelt will not be held this year. "We will work with other organizations to support fireworks displays," said Plusquellic. "But as with so many cities around the U.S., when we are facing furloughs and possible layoffs in the city workforce, it just doesn't seem prudent to spend $100,000 for 15-minutes of entertainment."
The City will host its eighth season of concerts at Lock 3: 15 free Friday night "Rock the Lock" concerts between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, and eleven concerts on Saturday nights, most of which will be also be free. The Lock 3 schedule relies on more affordable acts in 2010, and fewer expensive performers to reduce costs.
Free summer concerts in Akron parks will be held every week beginning in June:
- Mondays at Hardesty Park
- Tuesdays at Firestone Park
- Wednesdays at Shadyside Park
- Fridays at Goodyear Metropolitan Park
Concert times are 7pm and are free. In 2009, the city reduced the schedule from 10 weeks, and is offering nine weeks of concerts again this year.
"Free concerts in the parks are a great Akron tradition," said Plusquellic. "Thousands of people enjoy these performances, and in light of the economy, we need to supply free entertainment to families who may not have money to spend on other past times."
Another Akron tradition will continue, thanks to the support of local foundations - summer ballet in the parks. The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival returns for a fourth year, following the 2006 demise of Ohio Ballet. Akron has supported free dance outdoor dance performances since 1975 - the only city in the U.S. with a record of such support.
Dance performances in 2010, will be supported by local foundations, including a generous award of $20,000 from the John S and James L. Knight Foundation. The schedule this year is as follows:
- June 25-26 Firestone Park Doug Varone & Dancers
- July 23-24 Hardesty Park VERB Ballets
- July 30-31 Glendale Cemetery GroundWorks Dance Theater
- Aug 6-7 Goodyear Metropolitan Park Neos Dance Theatre
All performances begin at 8:45pm. A children's interactive dance program begins prior
to each performance at 7:45pm, presented by the University of Akron Dance Institute. Again,
this year, tickets will be given away at each performance for The Joffrey Ballet, presented by
Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center, September 4-5.
Free concerts will also be supported by the City on Thursday nights at the Akron Art Museum's "Downtown At Dusk." Family Fun Nights begin at 6pm with educators offering art making for children, and an art talk at 7:30pm. Concerts begin at 6:30pm.
Free Noontime concerts for downtown workers will be sponsored this summer by the Downtown Akron Partnership. The Lunch Hour Concert Series will begin June 9, and continue on Wednesdays at various locations throughout Downtown.
The City of Akron will also sponsor a month of weekend festivals in July:
• Rib White & Blue, a Festival of Food, Thursday, July 1- Sunday, July 4, Lock 3
• The Italian American Societies Festival, Friday, July 9 - Sunday, July 11, Lock 3
• The 5th annual National Hamburger Festival, Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18
for the benefit of Children's Hospital, Lock 3
• Akron Arts Expo, July 22-July 25, with the "Taste of Akron," and 160 juried exhibitors through Sunday at 5pm. Hardesty Park.
Plusquellic announced that the city's 4th of July fireworks display over the Akron Innerbelt will not be held this year. "We will work with other organizations to support fireworks displays," said Plusquellic. "But as with so many cities around the U.S., when we are facing furloughs and possible layoffs in the city workforce, it just doesn't seem prudent to spend $100,000 for 15-minutes of entertainment."
The mayor cited reasons for the decision: police and fire department overtime costs for the huge display is $60,000 (included in the $100,000 total cost); the fireworks budget has not attracted the support of private sponsors, and the All-America Bridge will still be closed for reconstruction.
"There will be fireworks around town," said the mayor, "and we will encourage displays at neighborhood venues." For example, the Kenmore Community Council will sponsor fireworks May 30, at 9:45pm, at Prentiss Park. The Italian American Festival fireworks will be 10:00pm, Saturday, July 10, at Lock 3. The Akron Aeros feature fireworks at Friday night home games, June 25, July 16, July 30, and in August.
There will also be a special "fireworks finale" to the concert by the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Lock 3 on Sunday night, July 4 at 8:00pm. Maestro Christopher Wilkins will conduct American classics along with the 1812 Overture that will trigger cannon fire and pyrotechnics at the free event for families, to close out the Rib, White & Blue Festival.
This will be the only 2010 outdoor summer performance by the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Earlier this year, the city announced that three parks concerts by the orchestra - at a cost of about $20,000 each - were cancelled due to budget restrictions.