MADISON, Wis. - Drivers on John Nolen Drive should enjoy the easy flow of traffic this week, because on Saturday the stretch of road will be front row seats as Rhythm and Booms moves to its new location.
Madison Festivals has been preparing for months for the annual firework show that is being held on Lake Monona for the first year. The organization hopes the new location will draw in a bigger crowd.
"The fantastic fireworks show. The same world-class firework show set to music, the 30-minute show will be the same. Everything else will be different,"Madison Festivals President Rita Kelliher said.
It's the first year Madison Festivals is running the event. The nonprofit group plans to incorporate more vendors and water skiing as a part of the celebrations.
Kelliher said they hope the view will attract a crowd.
"They will have front row seats, 1.6 miles of John Nolen is open to people for front row seats," Kelliher said.
Neighbors in downtown Madison said they are excited for the change, but even with the new accessibility they have some concerns.
"We haven't gone to Rhythm and Booms in so long because it is usually such a mess. Since we are right in it, then we don't have to go into the mess. I'm a little concerned just about the amount of people coming in and out of the neighborhood," downtown resident Jackie White said.
Over 250,000 people are expected to come to Saturday's event, but residents say it will be a waiting game to see if the fireworks will thrive in the new location.
"I think time will tell. We are going to see how it is going to take off. We will see how the neighbors respond to it. We have a lot of events around here, so I know some people get tired of that. We happen to like it because that's why we live down this way," White said.
Madison Festivals, who has hosted large events like the Taste of Madison, said it's a chance they are willing to take.
"It is a big bold risk that Madison Festivals is taking. But our board believes it's a wonderful event for Madison and for businesses, for visitors, for residents and all the local charities, so we are willing to take that risk," Kelliher said.
The total cost of the event is expected to be around $800,000. Madison Festivals said they will not be receiving any city funding for the event. Kelliher said Madison Festivals will cover $70,000 of that total, and she hopes to cover the rest through sponsors, concession sales and community donations.
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