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Last updated: Thu. Jun. 18, 2009 - 08:40 am EDT

Choices grow for fireworks on Fourth

TinCaps, Centennial host dueling displays for oohs and aahs

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Centennial Wireless Fireworks Spectacular: Beginning at noon, July 4, at IPFW, includes food vendors, petting zoo, music starting at 4 p.m. with Jo Dee Messina about 7 p.m. Fireworks show to start at 10:15 p.m. Event is free.

Fort Wayne TinCaps: Game begins at 7 p.m. with fireworks to follow. A ticket is required to attend, but some fireworks will be visible from outside Parkview Field.

City residents will have two options to watch the red glare of rockets this Independence Day as two shows are scheduled in the Summit City.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps recently announced moving the team's July 4 game from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and added a previously unscheduled fireworks display after the final out.

That is also the night of the Centennial Wireless Fireworks Spectacular at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

If the game lasts the typical three hours, the fireworks for both shows would begin just after 10 p.m.

Phil Laux, Centennial spokesman, called the ballclub's decision interesting and questioned the community partnership of the move.

But he said it does not worry the company, which still expects up to 40,000 people to flock to the IPFW campus for the $40,000 fireworks show.

This will be the sixth year Centennial has sponsored the event.

"I don't anticipate any drop in attendance because of the TinCaps changing their schedule," Laux said.

Plus, the celebration at IPFW will be much more than a fireworks show, Laux said, headlined by a free concert by country music star Jo Dee Messina.

The event will begin at noon, with bands to begin playing at 4 p.m.

Laux expected Messina to perform about 7 p.m., with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic slated to perform beginning at 9 p.m.

Mike Nutter, TinCaps president, said the team chose to move its start time after getting hundreds of requests from fans for fireworks on the Fourth of July.

"There's ample people who want to watch fireworks and baseball," he said. "There's certainly a lot of options."

Nutter said the TinCaps were not selling as many tickets as expected for the Saturday game, and he heard fans say they would come if the team added fireworks.

The fireworks show will be a little bigger than the normal fireworks show at TinCaps games, but Nutter said he doesn't think it will draw people away from the Centennial event.

"We're not firing off from the rooftop, it's still a field-level show, but the people at Parkview Field that night will be in for a great display," Nutter said.

Before changing the start time, the team contacted groups who already bought tickets, according to a written statement.

Greg Leatherman, Fort Wayne executive director of redevelopment, said he was aware of the appearance of a conflict, but he didn't think it would cause a problem. Many people enjoy fireworks, and this simply provides another venue for them on the holiday.

The city owns Parkview Field, where the TinCaps play.

"More than one show is OK," Leatherman said.

blanka@jg.net


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