February 13, 2016

Massive fireworks festival may get smaller

A public meeting takes places in Madison tonight to discuss the future of Rhythm and Booms, billed as the largest fireworks display in the Midwest, set to music. City leaders are discussing scaling back the event.

Alderwoman Anita Weir, who represents the neighborhood home to the festival, says residents complain about dealing with intoxicated persons stumbling around and urinating on their lawns. She says locals may also find ash from the fireworks display on their cars, roofs, and lawns.

Although around 150,000 people go to event, Weir says attendance is declining meaning less revenue in paying for extra staffing in the police, fire, and parks departments.

Mayor Paul Soglin is among those calling for the event to be more of a neighborhood celebration.

Due to public safety concerns, the festival last year eliminated its carnival midway. This Fourth of July will be the 21st year for Rhythm and Booms.


Robin Colbert-WIBA contributed to this report

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