Thursday, July 1, 2004

Fireworks fizzle, but ballpark beer $1

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

Florence Freedom vs. Chillicothe Paints
When: 6:05 p.m. Sunday
Where: Champion Window Field, 7950 Freedom Way
Details: $1 beer after the sixth inning, free ticket to a future game to all fans
Tickets: 594-HITS

Independence Day Celebration
When: 7-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Florence Government Center, 8100 Ewing Blvd.
Details: Food and drink booths, games for kids, live music. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.
Information: 371-5491

FLORENCE - A misunderstanding between the Florence Freedom and the city means cheap beer and free baseball for fans. But no fireworks after the game.

The Fourth of July fireworks scheduled after Sunday's game against Chillicothe have been canceled. To make it up to fans, the team is offering $1 beer after the sixth inning and a free ticket to a future game.

The Freedom printed their fireworks promotion in April on 250,000 pocket schedules that have been handed out to fans. The team thought it had an agreement with the city for a joint fireworks show at the stadium after the game.

However, General Manager Connie Hildebrant said she found out last week the city would be shooting its own fireworks from the government center Sunday.

"We talked to them about it back in the winter and it was something we decided to do jointly," said Hildebrant. Since it won't be happening, Freedom wants to make it up to fans: "That's why we'll give them a ticket and $1 beer."

Mayor Diane Whalen said a joint show was informally discussed with the Freedom and made sense rather than having dueling shows a mile from each other. But it was never formalized.

The city has a contract with Rozzi's Famous Fireworks, so Whalen decided the city would do its own show and maybe work with the Freedom next year. She said she thought the Freedom had its own fireworks planned, since it was on their schedule almost three months ago.

"I was never under the impression the only reason they put it on their schedule was because they thought they were doing it with us," said Whalen.

In the end, Hildebrant said, it may have worked out for the best. The city will have its fireworks after a three-hour festival at the government center, while Hildebrant said it can be seen from the stadium.

She said the team may have a fireworks show later in the season and will not have problems next Fourth of July.

"We'll definitely do it ourselves next year," said Hildebrant.


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