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Stow -- Cooler weather (hopefully), kids back to school and the annual Summer Sunset Blast mark the end of the summer season for many.
This year's event will be Sept. 3 from 5 to 10 p.m. in Silver Springs Park, 5238 Young Road in Stow. From 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a super heroes interactive show and a zipline and inflatables will be operating from 5 to 9 p.m. The fireworks show is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. There will also be food trucks at the event.
Admission and parking are free.
Parks and Recreation Director Linda Nahrstedt said the city decided to scale back the event, including limiting it to one night instead of two and not featuring bands, for several reasons.
"Our thought process had to do with evaluating our resources, and all that it takes to implement the event," said Nahrstedt. "We also evaluated the growth of the event, and who our audience is. We found that many of the attendees are families with young children, and also that this is not a big alcohol event. We also know that the fireworks are the high point of the Blast. There is also the realization that on any given year, bad weather days could wipe out the event, thus rendering all of our resources wasted. We have been extremely fortunate, that only one year out of nine has met with bad weather, although the heat has kept attendance down in three of the nine years of the event."
The city uses resources to plan the annual Fourth of July parade and the Firecracker Run.
"Additionally, we think some of our resources are best used supporting events organized by other entities," said Nahrstedt. "Many organizations in our community have worthy events with their own audience and their own labor/volunteer support to go along with it. So, we will support and have supported those that have the widest interest by our community."
These events include as a sponsor and supporter of the Fishcreek Elementary School Raccoon Race, Stow Historical Society Harvest Fest, Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club PawFest, and the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce Community Showcase. The city also provides support to the Kent State University Aviation Heritage Fair.
"Another factor in our decision to downsize was the increased requests from outside entities to hold running races on our streets or at our parks. We have instituted a whole new division to the parks and recreation department wherein we are now the permitting agency for these events," said Nahrstedt.
Nahrstedt said that sponsorships and donations for Summer Sunset Blast have also become harder to come by.
"We decided to focus our resources, which include funding and labor, on providing an event that has a small window and hits our target audience," said Nahrstedt.
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I love this event and am very thankful the city continues it. It is always a fun event and a great end to summer.