Indy residents, downtown businesses lament cancellation of July 4 Freedom Blast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The IPL Downtown Freedom Blast has been canceled.

The July Fourth festival and fireworks display won’t happen in 2020.

Officials cited social distancing and health concerns along with “deployment of financial resources” as the main reasons.

Indianapolis joins a long list of central Indiana communities to cancel July 4 festivities, including Westfield, Greenwood, Beech Grove and Anderson.

Noblesville and Brownsburg, however, have announced their Fourth of July parades, concerts and fireworks will go on as planned.

Indianapolis’ canceled fireworks display would have been the 51st. It’s commonly aired on local TV stations. Business owners and downtown residents expressed their disappointment that hundreds of fireworks will not be fired from the top of the Regions Bank Tower.

“I was so excited to have my family over and for us to watch the fireworks from my living room,” Josiah Johnson said. “This is my first year living in downtown so it’s kind of disappointing to hear it.”

Danielle Cooney, owner and manager of the restaurant Soupremacy Co. on Monument Circle, said “Anytime there’s something going on in the Circle, at the Convention Center, any big conference in town, we’re always really busy.”

George Stergiopolos, the 33-year co-owner of Giorgio’s Pizza and Greek Islands downtown, said, “It’s not in our hands to make that decision. Are we upset about it? Yes, but we also do understand that getting big groups of people.”

Jason Kocher, owner of downtown’s Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q, told News 8 that it’s been a tough year between COVID-19 and the destruction from downtown George Floyd riots over the weekend. The barbecue restaurant’s operators were looking forward to the summer attractions, but they plan to still overcome.

“I would tell everybody to stay strong, to get your business open as quickly as possible. Downtown is a safe place and to come on down and support your local business,” Kocher said.