RIO GRANDE — Rockets of Rio will once again be bringing its pyrotechnic sky display Saturday evening with liftoff beginning at 9:30 p.m. in celebration of its 10th year.
According to Matt Easter, mayor of Rio Grande, the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College allow for the annual fireworks display to be launched near the soccer fields. Legendary Productions Entertainment from Commercial Point will be on hand to launch the show.
“We’re super excited to bring this back,” Easter said. “It’s a nontaxpayer event. It’s funded by anywhere from $10 donations to $1,500 donations.”
Easter said he believes this is the seventh year the event is being financed solely through donations.
The Rio Grande Fire Department will be holding a raffle, whose winner will be allowed to watch the fireworks from high atop a ladder of one of the department’s fire trucks. Food will also be sold near the fireworks staging area, outside of the taped-off caution zone, and proceeds will be used by the fire department.
“It’s going to be a huge weekend all around for Rio Grande with the (Bob Evans) Farm Fest and everything going on,” Easter said.
The Bob Evans Farm Fest and other events are held respectively and separately from each other, but all have the same goal in common — bringing visitors to the village for a weekend of fun.
“At 9:30 (p.m.), we guarantee a great evening for families and anybody free,” Easter said.
Fireworks are anticipated to launch after all soccer matches have finished on Evan Davis Field.
Donations are typically taken for the event in early spring and all through the summer up until launch day.
“We couldn’t do this without our sponsors,” Easter said. “From the smallest donor to our big business donors, we thank them. We even have sponsors who have sent money all the way from Washington, D.C.
“It all began as just a tiny little idea and this is the 10th year of that idea,” Easter said. “I asked the village council (about the fireworks). Towns need fireworks shows. I’ve always believed that and it brings people out. We didn’t want to compete with fireworks around the Fourth of July. So, seeing as we have so many guests this time of year and we have the beautiful location that the university supplies, (the village decided on a launch date in October).”
Easter said the first show started on a budget of $3,000 and has only grown larger ever since. The next year, a few sponsors added to the efforts and within the third year the show was funded solely on donations.
This Rockets over Rio will feature a pageant for women from the ages of early womanhood and up to 19-plus. The 19-plus category will have competitors for categories both married and single. Currently, 17 women are competing for the title of Miss Rockets over Rio. Co-coordinators are LaDonna Day and Pat Miller. Spectators can watch as the ladies compete at 3 p.m. at the University of Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Community College’s Fine and Performing Arts Center Auditorium where ladies will take part in interviews and modeling competitions.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.