BLUE ASH, Ohio — Red, White and Blue Ash returned for the Fourth of July after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but there were a few changes this year.
Families and visitors gathered in Summit Park for the first fireworks show since the pandemic began, happy to be back in crowds and with friends once more.
"It feels like, you know, we need to take these opportunities more seriously and really show more appreciation for the fact we can celebrate something like independence," said Sue Chae, from Mason.
For years, Chae said she'd heard Red White and Blue Ash was a fun party, but it wasn't until this year she ventured to the event for an opportunity to see friends from Dayton whom the pandemic had kept away.
"I think we've learned a lot in the last year and a half and I think celebrating independence has taken on a new meaning," she said.
The big changes Sunday night were centered mostly on food, though the event did not have a concert this year either. Summit Park was absent any food or drink vendors for the celebration, though event organizers encouraged people to bring their own food and drinks.
When the temperatures rose on Sunday, nearby ice cream shop Nanny Belle's celebrated the return of Red White and Blue Ash customers the shop had struggled without during the pandemic.
"We were fortunate we could keep our walk-up window and keep our distance and everything, but it really hurt when we were not able to do our event," said Jill Donnellan, co-owner of Nanny Belle's.
Another change involves the fireworks show put on by Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics. During the show, the display included 200 drones in the sky creating pictures and displays to accompany the spectacle.
"We’re really excited to bring an amazing fireworks show back to Blue Ash,” Rachel Murray, the communications coordinator with the city of Blue Ash, said. "I think everybody’s ready to get out of the house and do something fun. And this is the perfect opportunity to have the family out, and have a great time and see a great show.”
The event and parking were free at Summit Park, and the park is open all day Sunday. The fireworks show began at 10 p.m.