Downtown July 4 Freedom Fest, fireworks display called off

The 2020 July 4th Downtown Freedom Fest and accompanying fireworks display have been canceled, organizers announced Wednesday morning.

“This is not a decision we enter into lightly,” event producer Emmis Communications Corp. said in a written statement. “Over its 50-year history, the IPL Downtown Freedom Fest has attracted tens of thousands to downtown Indianapolis annually. There were two main factors in our decision: social distancing and public health concerns, and the deployment of financial resources in the current economic environment.”

Emmis said it hoped to resume the tradition in 2021.

“We explored other options and had many conversations with community partners, but ultimately, we believe this is the best decision,” the company said.

Sponsors for this year’s event included Indianapolis Power & Light, Regions Bank and Zambelli Fireworks.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

12 thoughts on “Downtown July 4 Freedom Fest, fireworks display called off

    1. That was my first thought regarding the cancellation. It’s obvious that the riots factored into this decision.

  1. What Brian N. said…and to add to that, a silver lining to the Wuhan Virus pandemic: Indianapolis didn’t have thousands of convention visitors in the city to witness all this destruction first hand, as well as being endangered. It was already bad enough without having visitors flee the city on “the last train [or plane] to Clarksville” to get out of Indianapolis before they were harmed.

  2. Probably not the peaceful protesting as much as the unfortunately concurrent violence, vandalizing, and looting…

    Historically, one of the outcomes of urban violence has been a significant downturn in the economic fortunes of the urban area(s) involved (think Detroit and Watts decades ago, and more recently Ferguson and Baltimore). I suspect we will see the same type of decline across the various cities involved most recently – in direct proportion to the intensity of the violence they have witnessed – the greater the violence, the greater the decline.

    Not that those few troublemakers care, but I think the recent violence will impact the city’s ability to attract conventions, and likely further degrade Circle Center’s prospects. We could be on the path to becoming one of those cities where downtown is “dead” on weekends and during the week after the workday is done.

  3. This doesn’t surprise me! The CDC and media have everyone in fear mode. Altho the violence is a reason to be afraid. People have been pent up for months with no where to go to let off some steam. While a totally unacceptable way of blowing off steam, I intellectually understand.
    ** I also think some used it as an excuse to riot. While most just transferred to issues in their own lives that they didn’t want to deal with. We have not taught people how to deal with anger effectively.

    ** Add to that our government did a lousy job of preventing it and protecting people and businesses. These protestors need to be heard and counseled on other ways to express their anger that doesn’t hurt people and/or personal property.

    ** But then their is the bigger issue. Most people don’t want to get well. Just dealing with the symptoms is just putting a bandaid on this HUGE ANGER AND ADDICTION PROBLEM.

  4. Until we as a society acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, Americans will collectively have to deal with the consequences of systemic racism and oppression. Let’s do better and fight for a better America for everyone.

  5. Peggy I agree with most of what you said except, “We have not taught people how to deal with anger effectively.” Not sure who that is aimed at but I do not accept the premise that the city, state, or society as a whole should be held responsible for uncivilized behavior. Without a moral compass, when people experience challenges, surprises, injustice, or whatever life brings; an individual is ill-equipped to deal with reality. Without a loving family to guide and rear children with the values a democracy requires of it’s citizens our nation is doomed. As we have watched the destruction of the family unit in society over the years mainly through government programs (legalized abortion, ADC, food stamps, easy divorce laws, etc) which has served to destabilize the family, we are seeing the effects of this lunacy. LBJ’s “Great Society” in the 1960’s was supposed to eliminate poverty. Billions and billions later, that government program has failed as have all of the others. Programs rarely solve problems no matter how well-intended they are. It is not politically correct to talk about the need for a father and a mother in a home providing not only food, clothing and shelter, but also modeling/ teaching values like selflessness, work ethic, pride, compassion, faith, forgiveness, personal responsibility, integrity, and respect for authority. Previous generations went through 2 world wars, a great depression, pandemics, union strikes, discrimination, etc, but did not act this way. What is the difference now? It is obvious to me. Our problems are not any worse than those that our grandparents and great grandparents faced. Dealing with anger has to be taught primarily in the home. Schools, churches, and the government can help reinforce values but cannot replace the need of a family.

  6. Lawrence and Joe make excellent points. It would also be refreshing if politicians and the media could understand and recognize the difference between “protesters” and “rioters.” Until this happens, legitimate law-abiding protesters will continue to be given a bad name.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.