NORFOLK, Neb. – The COVID-19 pandemic is changing one of the ways that citizens of Norfolk and northeast Nebraska ring out the Independence Day holiday this year. Instead of holding its annual Boomfest nighttime display at Skyview Lake next month, Big Bang Boom Inc. will host a drive-in style fireworks show on the Norfolk campus of Northeast Community College.
Don Wisnieski, president of Big Bang Boom, said he and fellow committee members have been focused on looking for a way to hold the 45th annual event on Saturday, July 4, while abiding by the governor’s Directed Health Measures as the community observes the nation’s birthday.
“Boom is a Norfolk tradition and because it falls on the 4th of July this year, we really wanted to find a way for it to happen,” he said. “Even if the full festival can’t happen, we think the fireworks are an important way to celebrate,” he said.
Wisnieski said once the drive-in concept was developed, the committee began looking for a location that would allow for optimal viewing of the fireworks from around the area. Committee members met with Northeast Community College President Leah Barrett and her staff to work on the details.
"We are excited to be able to partner with Big Bang Boom to keep this annual tradition alive," Barrett said. "We look forward to being a part of the celebration."
Wisnieski said people will not have to be on the Northeast campus to view the display.
“We have gone to a full aerial show with some bigger shells to make sure people from around town can see the fireworks. The higher elevation of the shoot site on campus will be able to be viewed through a large portion of Norfolk.”
Parking lots on the Northeast campus will open at 7 p.m., on Saturday, July 4, with fireworks beginning at 9:45 p.m. Families are invited to watch while remaining in or on their vehicles in the Northeast parking lots. Lawns and fields on campus will not be open for walk-in viewing.
In addition, there will be no concessions available on campus, but those viewing the display from their vehicles are encouraged to continue to support local businesses by picking up their favorite food and snacks on the way to the show. Northeast buildings will not be open, but a limited number of portable toilets and trash containers will be available during the event. Members of the Big Bang Boom committee are asking for the public’s assistance in keeping the Northeast campus clean from litter during and after the event.
Music for the Big Bang Boom fireworks display will once again be broadcast on several Norfolk radio stations - 106KIX, Lite Rock 97.5, The New 94 Rock and US92 - allowing fans the opportunity to fully enjoy the display from their vehicles or their homes. For those who will not be able to watch the fireworks in person, the show will be broadcast on television on News Channel Nebraska.
Big Bang Boom, Inc. is a non-profit corporation formed in 1999 and operates on a budget that is funded entirely by community and business donations.