Red White & Kaboom, Lakeland’s July 3 fireworks fest at Lake Mirror, has been cancelled for this year, the city of Lakeland announced this afternoon.

“After much deliberation it has been decided that Red, White & Kaboom is cancelled this year due to the unknowns associated with COVID-19,” the city said in a news release.

Among the city’s concerns is that the traditionally large crowds who attend the event would be squeezed into a smaller area because one of the popular viewing spots is no longer available.

That’s the former gravel parking lot on the west side of Lake Mirror that is now a construction site for the upcoming Summit Consulting office building.

Red White & Kaboom 2016: Children perch atop the sculpture titled “Mute Swan Protecting Her Cygnets” as they watch the fireworks show from Allen Kryger Park. | Michael Wilson

The principals in T. Mims Corp., which has sponsored the event since 2009, encouraged Lakeland residents to remember nonprofit organizations, particularly ones that distribute food. In the past, those attending the event were asked to bring goods to be donated to Volunteers in Service to the Elderly.

“T. Mims Corp is disappointed we won’t be able to celebrate with our friends, family and the community at large during Red White and Kaboom this year. But, we know that the safety and well-being of our greater Lakeland community is the most important treasure we have,” Paula and Tom Mims said in a prepared statement. “We encourage everyone to participate with the many non-profits providing essential services here in Lakeland and remember that our food distribution organizations still need our help. Please remember Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) as you make donations. Our gratitude goes out to all of our essential workers and please know the Mims family and T. Mims Corp are proud to stand with you!”

The Mims family volunteered to sponsor the event in 2009, when Red White & Kaboom was nearly cancelled because of the economic downturn.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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