Talk about a heavy-duty light show.

David Maschino will electronically control an imposing thunder storm of sorts at the free Columbus Regional Health presents QMIX Musical Fireworks 28, “Playin’ with Fire,” near the Columbus Municipal Airport on Monday.

Columbus’ Maschino, the shooter-in-charge of the Iowa-based J&M Displays Inc.’s pyrotechnic power, promises a tightly synchronized, nearly 25-minute extravaganza that will leave viewers — perhaps some 50,000 spread over several miles, organizers estimate — seeing stars of sorts.

“We take special pains to match the effects exactly with the music,” said Maschino, who will be sitting about 200 feet from the fireworks launch site, which is on private property west of the airport.

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A computerized program called Fireone will allow Maschino to give the local pop-rock radio station at 107.3 FM the most bang for its buck, using up to 10-inch shells to more or less simulate celebratory bombs bursting in air.

All to leave viewers, well, slightly shell-shocked.

Brittany Gray is QMIX’s operations manager and a morning show personality with the Q-Wake-Up Crew. She also is the maven of music selections for the high-in-the-sky concert. Yet, one element will make the event slightly different for her this year.

Her 2½-year-old son, Link, will see his first fireworks show ever as Mom handles a live-remote broadcast from the site.

And that seems appropriate, given the event’s heritage.

“It has become such a family tradition,” Gray said. “People pretty much know what to expect.”

Except for a tweak or two that the station adds to the variety of children’s bounce houses, a magic show, food vendors and other offerings, the event is the same tried-and-true red, white and blue collection of sis, boom, ahh that has left attendees excited and agape for years.

Eats this year include pizza, barbecue, Chinese, beverages such as lemon shake-ups and more possibilities. Gray judged last year’s pre-fireworks crowd to be slightly larger than in 2015.

As many as 10,000 to 12,000 people are expected for Ceraland Park’s Fourth of July holiday of activities, according to Corey Behymer, Ceraland’s assistant executive director.

“We are hoping so, anyway,” Behymer said.

The park has boasted those kinds of numbers in recent years on the holiday.

The schedule Saturday through Tuesday includes a variety of contests, tournaments, karaoke, and, on the holiday itself, a concert from country/rock band Hotwired at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk.

Admission is open to the public. Those with an annual pass enter free. Others ages 4 and older pay $2 per person at the gate. Wristbands for all activities are available for $15 for the entire day, or people can pay as they choose to participate.

Hope’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day, hosted by the Yellow Trail Museum, is scheduled from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at the historic Hope Town Square. The Banister Family Bluegrass Band again will provide live music at the gazebo beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“If you yearn for a more simple, relaxed holiday event to share with your family, then this is the one,” said singer and musician Roger Banister.

Some of the activities on tap include watermelon seed-spitting contests, watermelon-eating contests, a children’s bicycle parade at 5:30 p.m. for those ages 12 and younger, an apple pie-baking contest, and a 15- to 20-minute fireworks show at dark.

Plus, a new event, the Little Miss Sparkler and Mr. Firecracker contest, has been added this year for youngsters ages 3 to 10. Winners will be determined by penny votes.

Last year’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day attracted an estimated 1,500 people according to Johnson.

“And I think we could end up with maybe a bigger crowd this year if the weather cooperates,” Johnson said.

Playin' With Fire

When: 5:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m. Monday.

Where: Central Avenue in Columbus on the IUPUC grounds and area surrounding the Columbus Muncipal Airport. In the past, crowds have gathered over at least a half-mile area. Fireworks are visible from a couple miles away.

Admission: Free. A cost for food and drinks.

Activities: Bounce houses, magic show at 6 p.m., fireworks at dark, food booths.

Information: or Facebook page for QMIX Musical Fireworks 28.

Old-Fashioned Independence Day

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Where: Historic Hope Town Square.

Admission: Free.

Activities: Children’s bicycle parade at 5:30 p.m., Banister Family Bluegrass Band at 7:30 p.m., seed-spitting contest, fireworks at dark.

Information: Facebook page for Old-Fashioned Independence Day Hope.

July 4th at Ceraland Park

When: Special events and activities from Saturday through Tuesday at various times.

Where: 3989 S. County Road 525E, south side of Columbus.

Activities: Children’s games, swimming and contests at the pool, family movies, tournaments, karaoke, concert, fireworks and more.

Admission: Free for those with an annual pass, $2 for those 4 and older.

Information: Facebook page for Ceraland July 1st-4th Celebration.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.