In order to prepare for Independence Day, the City of Wyoming and Rozzi Fireworks will conduct a brief fireworks test Monday evening in Oak Park. The park will close at 8 pm, with the fireworks launched at 9:30 pm. The test will include one significant addition: an 8 minute, 46 second pause in honor of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose killing by police sparked protests and unrest across the country this week.
Originally planned for Tuesday, the test was rescheduled after residents voiced concerns. “It didn’t seem right when the rest of the country was reeling and the City of Cincinnati was under curfew,” said Wyoming resident April Robles, who suggested pausing during the test. “The first thought that came to mind was if we could use the test to bring some symbolic meaning into the Wyoming community.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Wyoming is exploring the possibility of alternate viewing areas across the city, allowing people to watch the Independence Day fireworks display while maintaining social distance. “Our vast tree canopy makes it difficult to identify viewing areas,” said Rachel Leininger, Director of Recreation and Citizen Engagement for the City of Wyoming. “The fireworks show is a substantial expense, so we want to make sure we get the most bang for our buck. A viewing test is the only way to do that.” The annual July 4 celebrations typically include a band, festivities, and fireworks in Oak Park. Restrictions on mass gatherings have forced the cancellation of the band and activities.
At 9:30 pm on Monday, June 8, Rozzi Fireworks will launch the first test round—two to three shells within a few seconds of each other. The second round will launch 8 minutes and 46 seconds later, the same amount of time that a Minneapolis policeman knelt on George Floyd’s neck, resulting in his death. “We need to take the time to acknowledge how George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests are affecting our community and our country,” said April Robles. “I hope my neighbors in Wyoming and the surrounding neighbors in Lockland, Hartwell, Woodlawn, and Finneytown will take this time in silence and reflection.”