Red, White, & Boom!
Columbus boasts one of the biggest fireworks shows in Ohio: Red, White and Boom drawing a crowd of nearly a million each year. The Red, White, and Boom “experience” continues to please and excite residents and visitors of all ages. This year marks my second time attending Red, White, and Boom – and again the food, people, excitement, and fireworks show did not disappoint.
If you’re anything like me, events like these are great to attend for two reasons: the food options are plentiful and the crowds are colorful. Since I wanted to have the full Red, White and Boom “experience,” I decided to head to the event early, unlike last year when I arrived around dusk for the firework show.
With so many people coming into the Arena District and downtown for Red, White, and Boom, the first order of business is parking. I was happy to find on RedWhiteandBoom.org, and on ArenaDistrict.com parking lots and structures listed. Interestingly, some structures offered advance purchase options including ArenaDistrict.com/parking!
Since my plan was to arrive early, I opted not to purchase a parking spot in advance, but rather head over to the Arena District parking garages and see what I could find. As luck would have it, I quickly found a spot in one of the area garages around 4pm and headed to Nationwide Boulevard for Taste of Boom.
Taste of Boom presented by the Arena District and Yuengling, featured food and drinks from many of the restaurants in the area such as Rodizio Grill, Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar, Max & Erma’s, bd’s Mongolian Grill, Gordon Biersch, Hyatt Regency and the Arena Grand Movie Theatre. Since I had no plans of giving up my parking spot, the goal was to find some place offering outdoor seating – maybe even shade – to settle in for some good food and people watching.
Before I perused the food and seating options, I snagged one of my favorite Pennsylvania brews, Yuengling to tide me over during the search. Eventually, I ended up at Boston’s: The Gourmet Pizza and I’m so glad I did.
Since it was hotter than hot outside, my friend and I wanted to try and eat indoors, then see if we could grab a table outdoors to enjoy dinner drinks and people watching. Surprisingly, I waited less than 20 minutes for a table! While inside we cooled off and feasted on Boston’s Nachos and Famous Boneless Wings.
The nachos include Boston’s signature tortilla chips topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, refried black beans, black olives, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. The nachos were fantastic and much more filling than you might imagine. Not your typical bagged chips, the “signature tortilla chips” are corn and made to order. The chips were both crunchy and able to withstand the weight of all the toppings without falling apart.
The boneless wings, oven-roasted, lightly breaded and tossed in a variety of sauces were great as well. I opted for spicy garlic, and plan to go back soon to try the Creamy Buffalo and Sweet Thai Chili sauces.
Following the meal, we found some great seating outside and decided to beat the heat with Boston’s Classic Mojito and Limeade. The Classic Mojito included Cruzan Rum, club soda, Sierra Mist, lime juice, and fresh mint leaves, while the Limeade featured Three Olives Vodka, Finest Call Simple Syrup, club soda, and fresh lime juice. In the past, I’ve found Mojitos to be too sweet. I was pleasantly surprised to find both the Classic Mojito and Limeade not over sweetened and light enough to enjoy more than one!
As dusk approached, we finally relinquished our table at Boston’s to find a spot from which to watch the fireworks. We found a great grassy spot near Spring and Front Street, and close to WNCI Boom Central. I was delighted we ended up near Boom Central because we heard all the festival music selected to accompany the fireworks — something I hadn’t experienced the last time I attended Red, White, and Boom.
And the fireworks…were spectacular! I loved the music that went along with the display. Not to get too sappy, but it was great to see the fireworks with so many others excited to celebrate Independence Day! If you have not participated in the Red, White, and Boom “experience,” I highly recommend you do! It’s one of the most exciting days of the year in Columbus. I can’t wait to do it all over again next summer.
Erika Pryor is the host of Digital 411 - an Internet radio show about the Internet heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com. Erika also spends her time as an interactive marketing strategist. After sundown, she can be found singing along at live music events, dancing in the streets at summer festivals and enjoying food cart fare.