CORAL GABLES (CBS4) – Forced to end their annual 4th of July fireworks show due to budget constraints, the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables brought back the bang – literally.
The hotel, located at 1200 Anastasia Avenue in Coral Gables, put on its first fireworks spectacular since 2006 after an influx of funding from several sponsors.
“For financial reasons back during the recession it was tough,” said Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason. “We had to cut back.”
Once the recession eased up a bit, the city came up with a way to ensure the event could go on and not put funds in jeopardy.
“What we did is created an ordinance a while back so corporate sponsors could come in and get naming rights so that has made it possible for us to pay it all, or almost, with private funds and not taxpayer money,” said Cason.”I’m sure that after the success of tonight we’re going to have companies clambering to be back next year and support Coral Gables fireworks.”
Gene Prescott of The Biltmore Hotel added “we here at the Biltmore felt it was our interest and responsibility to bring it to the community, so we partnered with the city of Coral Gables and some others.”
CBS 4′s Shannon Hori emceed the event – a night of music fun and fireworks. In the midst of all the excitement, General Douglas Fraser, Commander or the United States Southern Command urged everyone to remember “those men and women who are serving around the world today who are defending our nation and the quality of life and the freedoms we have”
Residents were thrilled they get to celebrate the holiday in their hometown.
“My aunt and I used to come here and get a room, and it was beautiful,” said resident Susanne Jadis. “It’s a beautiful family affair.”
The city estimated 27,000-30,000 people attended the event. The fireworks show lasted about 20 minutes and was a big hit.
Two people suffered minor injuries at the event. Coral Gables Police Major Edward James Hudak said, “we still don’t know the extent or cause of the injuries but they were very very minor.”
Police said two adults walked to the first aid tent with “wounds” and went to the hospital to get checked out. Police will continue to investigate what caused the injuries.