Thousand from across area enjoy Great American Boom

Published on Wednesday, 4 July 2018 20:55
Written by Charles Paullin


NEW BRITAIN - As communities around the country celebrated the nation’s birthday, New Britain brought out fair food, music and fireworks at Stanley Quarter Park Wednesday for area residents at the 26th annual Great American Boom.

“People know that we’re one of the biggest fireworks shows in the state of Connecticut,” said city Recreation Services Coordinator Matt Scofield. “It’s a community event that the entire city gets behind, because it’s our chance to shine on America’s birthday.”

Set up overlooking the pond was a line of vendors selling fried Oreos, fresh-squeezed lemonade and steak and cheese sandwiches. A rock climbing wall and a bungee jump station were also available, and zorb ball racing was set up for attendees to enjoy.

Music was by the Latanya Farrell Band, playing classic soul hits. The music was expected to continue through the fireworks, Scofield said.

About 30,000 people were expected to watch the show, Scofield said.

“It’s a really good event,” said Sean Adomako-Mensah. He and his nephew, Khamel Reddinghall, 8, both of New Britain, were driving through the city and decided to stop by after seeing all the commotion, he said.

“And now the fun begins,” said Reddinghall after the two spoke with a man walking on stilts, who then asked another group of young men if they wanted to play a quick game of basketball.

Browsing all the food options and toys were Carla Thompson and Gigi Abraham, 3, who live near the park and decided to check it out.

“Probably a slushy,” Thompson said of her choice of cool refreshment.

With a National Weather Service heat advisory in effect, all the vendors were selling water, Scofield said. Parks and Recreation Department and EMS crews on hand also had water available, and police and lifeguards were keeping an eye out for any heat exhaustion.

“We have a lot of eyes and ears on this park to make sure everyone’s enjoying the Fourth but also responsibly having a good time,” Scofield said.

“The kids have never seen a big fireworks show before, so I looked online and this one looked like the best,” Nicole Church, of Norwich, said, noting its activities for children.

Because she and the family she was with wanted to attend an event in a safe area, and heard about the big crowds, they arrived at 9:30 a.m. to stake out a spot.

“We’ve just been hanging out,” Church added, with a visit to nearby A.W. Stanley Pool.

“It’s a great park,” she said, praising the pond and playground area for children.

“Yes!” shouted Isabella Cholewa, 11, who was with Church, when asked if she was ready for the 24-minute firework show that was to begin around 9:15 p.m.

Also set up east of the pond were Debbie Perron and Carla Plummer, both of Bristol.

“They’re fantastic here,” said Perron, who was at the Boom the years ago, of the fireworks.

“We just need a couple of footrests and a fan,” said Plummer.

The estimated cost of the event was $100,000, $25,000 for fireworks, said Scofield. Most of the costs covered overtime holiday staffing.

Thousands of dollars were raised for the Boom, Scofield said, mainly through a Quarters for Stanley Quarter drive run by Alderman Brian Keith Albert.

The bounce house and musical entertainment costs were offset by ticket sales and vendor proceeds, Scofield said.

“It’s something that I look forward to,” said Vincent Placeres, owner of The Kitchen and Mofongo restaurants in downtown New Britain. Mofongo, which specializes in Puerto Rican cuisine, was set up as a food vendor Wednesday.

“The amount of people that come out for this, it’s not just people from Newington and Plainville. It’s a great, great show,” Placeres said.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Wednesday, 4 July 2018 20:55. Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2018 20:57.