MADISON, Wis. - In a news conference Wednesday morning, officials said Rhythm and Booms will be moved from the north side to downtown for safety, accessibility and profitability.
The event -- formerly at Warner Park -- will take place on a 1.6-mile stretch of John Nolen Drive that will shut down for the celebration. The four-lane roadway will be split with two lanes reserved for viewing and two lanes for concessions and public safety personnel parking, event coordinators said.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said efforts put into previous two Fourth of July events at Elver Park and Warner Park will be funneled into the single Rhythm and Booms celebration on Lake Monona.
"Our commitment to Warner and Elver will be merged into this one event," Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said at the conference.
Madison Festivals Inc. leader Rita Kelliher said the event will be held on a Saturday next year -- on June 28 -- and fireworks will be shot from a barge on Lake Monona.
John Nolen Drive will be blocked off from traffic from Lakeside to Williamson. Parking will be at the Alliant Center, which offers 8,500 spots, downtown ramps and some private lots, Kelliher said.
The Warner Park event was on a weekday instead of a Saturday this year, and shortened from an all-day affair. Neighbors said they were supportive of keeping Rhythm and Booms on the north side if it continued to be like this year's event, but wanted it moved somewhere else if it returned to the way it has been. The Warner Park celebration was not financially sustainable, Kelliher said.
Kelliher said the John Nolen Drive event will be more appealing to sponsors because it will offer activities throughout the day beginning at 2 p.m.
She also said the downtown location brings the crowd closer to hospitals and will require less staff for fest-goers' safety.
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