Cedar Rapids fireworks show draws thousands downtown

Freedom Fest finale features 30-minute show

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Thousands of blankets and lawn chairs dotted the grassy areas of May’s Island and the banks of the Cedar River late Monday night as the annual Freedom Festival celebration came to a close with a 30-minute fireworks show put on by J&M Displays of Yarmouth.

The show featured bursts of fireworks set to tunes like Celine Dion’s rendition of “God Bless America” and “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp. The show marked the end of the two-week long Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival.

Before the show, festivalgoers played with sparklers on the island lawn and watched as smaller bursts of fireworks were lit in other parts of town. Trucks and tents along the Second Avenue and Third Avenue bridges offered food as sky lanterns floated above the river.

The bridge lights dimmed just before the show, and some attendees stood as Mariah Carey’s rendition of the national anthem blared over the speakers and four sparklers shot up on both sides of the First Avenue Bridge to begin the display.

After more than 5,300 individual fireworks, the show ended with a finale of bright, colorful explosions and the signature fireworks waterfall over the First Avenue Bridge.

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