Lake Eola Park and its fountain will be the highlight of a fireworks show on July 4. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
ORLANDO – When the Independence Day holiday arrives, and the anticipated crowds — literally thousands, it’s estimated — descend on Lake Eola Park, the city of Orlando will be ready for them.
The 35th annual Fireworks at the Fountain holiday event starts at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, and heads right into sunset with an evening of entertainment that will include live performances on two stages, a play area with bounce houses and face painting for kids, the Orlando Magic interactive RV with video games, and festive Fourth of July cuisine on hand.
Not surprisingly, the city is encouraging spectators to arrive early.
Just before the firework show begins around 9:20 p.m., there will be a special patriotic show centered around the Lake Eola Fountain. It’s going to be a water, light and sound show that will be followed by the 15-minute fireworks display.
The city is once again taking the opportunity to highlight that newly refurbished fountain, which dates back to the 1950s and is the centerpiece of the lake. The fountain suffered electrical and mechanical problems in the summer of 2009 when it was struck by a lightning bolt, but last year benefitted from improvements and upgrades made by the city.
Construction of the fountain was completed in 1957, when it was known as the Centennial Fountain – and was unveiled to mark the 100th anniversary of the naming of Orlando.
It was renamed the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain in 1965, a tribute to the local businessman who had been inspired by similar fountains he had seen in Europe, and believed Orlando should have one as well.
The fountain was re-dedicated and resumed operation exactly a year ago, on July 4 2011, during the Fireworks at the Fountain Independence Day event.
On Oct. 24, the city began daily jazz shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., featuring a choreographed water, light and sound show for people visiting Lake Eola Park. The shows are four minutes and 35 seconds long.
This Independence Day, the city will have a special booth at the park that commemorates the fountain’s unique history. Attendees who visit the booth will be able to buy a piece of the old Lake Eola Fountain.
These souvenirs are made out of remnants of the original fountain, and purchasing a piece goes to help a good cause: all proceeds from the sales directly benefit the Orlando Community & Youth Trust, Inc., a non-profit organization created to support the mission of the city’s Department of Families, Parks, and Recreation.
The money will also be used for the upkeep and future enhancements at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando.
The live entertainment, on two stages, will include performances by Bailey Callahan, Like the Movies, the Orlando Concert Band, and Hayfire Band.
The entertainment runs from 4-10 p.m., while the fountain show begins at 9:15, followed by the fireworks show at 9:20 p.m.
Lake Eola Park is at 195 N. Rosalind Ave. in downtown Orlando.
At the same time, the city is encouraging residents to visit Lake Eola and enjoy the fireworks show on July 4 — rather than setting off fireworks on their own at home.
“According to National Fire Protection research, there are more U.S. fires reported on a typical Independence Day than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires,” the city noted in a news release. “In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires. These fires resulted in an estimated $38 million in direct property damage.”
The Orlando Fire Department notes that “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. Residents and visitors are encouraged to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks. After a fireworks display, never let children pick up leftover fireworks. They may still be active.”
For more information on the Fireworks at the Fountain event, parking and activities on July 4, log on to www.cityoforlando.net.
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