Labor Day weekend means it's time again for thousands and thousands of fireworks to explode in the downtown Knoxville sky. The 22nd annual Boomsday celebration Sunday, Sept. 6, also includes music from the Navy, tricks on water and a tint of orange.
The 2009 Chrysler Jeep Boomsday Festival is 1-10 p.m. Sept. 6. One day after the University of Tennessee home football opener, Knoxville's Labor Day weekend celebration marks goodbye to summer with crowd-pleasing fireworks. Last year a record 450,000 people came to the festival.
There's no admission to Boomsday; food, beverage, parking and games do cost. The Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. estimates a family of four should bring $40 for food at the festival.
The show centered on the Henley Bridge over Neyland Drive began as an evening fireworks display a couple of decades ago. An afternoon festival along Volunteer Landing and Neyland Drive now leads up to 9:30 p.m. fireworks choreographed to music and put on by Pyro Shows of LaFollette. This year's show is nearly 19 minutes. Boomsday attendees can bring radios to tune to Star 102.1 for the simulcast soundtrack. Speakers on site also broadcast the music.
This year's Boomsday includes a bit more Big Orange flair. Voices of UT football coach Lane Kiffin, UT women's basketball icon Pat Summitt and men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl will be heard on the soundtrack. All three recorded remarks for the program. "It's the first time we'd had all three coaches speaking in the soundtrack. And there are special songs that kind of go along with them and their personalities," said Pyro Shows Vice President of Operations Mike Walden.
The fireworks themselves will have a somewhat different look because Pyro Shows has added a new fireworks manufacturer. "The colors are a little different, more vivid," Walden said.
While the fireworks are Boomsday's main attraction, afternoon festivities include:
Performances at 2, 5 and 8 p.m. from the eight-member United States Navy Band "Freedom." The band will perform from a barge at the Volunteer Landing steps. Freedom plays rock, hip-hop, country and Top 40; each show is about 45 minutes. The group is here as part of "Navy Week." Knoxville is one of 22 cities selected for the Sept. 1-7 "Navy Week"; some 30 sailors are in town promoting the Navy and doing charity work. The Navy's "Accelerate Your Life Experience" simulator also will be at Boomsday. The simulator is designed give participants the feeling of being onboard an aircraft carrier.
Professional wakeboarders perform jumps and turns at 1, 3, 5 and 8:15 p.m. at the Mastercraft/American Boat Center Rail Jam demonstration track, a 30-foot-wide, 200-foot-long manmade water track along Neyland Drive.
A family fun zone includes inflatables, games, a petting zoo and pony rides.
Would-be entertainers can perform at the Karaoke Cafe community stage opening at 1 p.m.
© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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