TORONTO - The Gem City Day fireworks will proceed tonight unless there is serious inclement weather, according to Mayor John Geddis.
The program begins at 8 p.m. at the Toronto High School Stadium, with the Tri-State Community Band to perform at 8 p.m. and the Original Fantasy's at 9 p.m., followed by fireworks beginning at 10 p.m.
The theme for this year's program will be "Thundering Herd."
The National Weather Service has called for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight, but the mayor said he's hoping to dodge any inclement weather.
"I can't remember us ever being rained out," said the mayor, adding in the past it has rained shortly after the fireworks. "I'm hoping we can pull it off. (The shoot) only takes 22 minutes. We're going to try our best to shoot (tonight). If not, we'll have to have an alternate day."
Geddis said he was concerned some of the pre-fireworks activities may be affected if it rains earlier in the day, but even that might not deter the shoot, he added.
"People come from all over to see this," he said, adding it's a once-a-year event.
R.J. Stewart, chairman of the Toronto Fourth of July Committee, said fireworks could be shot Sunday evening if the event is rained out today, but Geddis pointed out the predictions for rain Sunday evening were even higher than for today. Stewart also said he remains hopeful.
"If it's just a shower then we're going to shoot," he said. "We're hoping to sneak past the rain. Toronto (today) will see the best fireworks show we've ever had."
Stewart said those with VIP seating must have a wristband to enter the seating area and will be on a first-come, first-served basis for seating locations. General public seating is on each end of the stands, and lawn chair seating will be on the the track. Also, there will be seats also provided on track and blanket-only areas in designated areas of the stadium and grassy area of the baseball field, he added.
Stewart asked those enjoying the fireworks from the river to dock along the West Virginia shore for the best and safest location.
For vendor information, call Stewart, at (740) 632-1926.
"I'm very excited to be part of the Toronto event, and on behalf of the committee we are very thankful to the community for rallying behind this event this year and years past," he said. "We have an outstanding venue for the display."