The show must go on. That's what the city of Roanoke has to say about this year's Fourth of July celebration.
A lack of sponsors this year had the city scrambling to make ends meet to make sure people had something to enjoy.
Roanoke Assistant City Manager Brian Townsend told WDBJ 7 that the Roanoke Times has almost always been the signature sponsor of the fireworks show, while area businesses have provided live music.
Those businesses include WDBJ7.
However, the Roanoke Times decided to only pay for one-third of the fireworks this year, according to Townsend.
Rather than risk having no show, the city made the decision to pick up the tab and is now paying the other two-thirds so that people can see fireworks.
For years, the city has always provided police officers, firefighters and staff to set up and break down the event at no charge. Townsend said the city will continue to do that in addition to the expense for fireworks.
As for music, the city plans on playing recorded patriotic music for those who make it out for the Fourth.
“I think it’s a sign of the economy,” said Townsend when asked why businesses have opted to drop out. “I think it’s a sign of the demand that corporate businesses in the region get from all types of non-profits and other types of requests they get during the year. Obviously they have to look what makes best sense for them fiscally and return on their investment.”
Fireworks will begin at 9:30 pm. Buses will start running at 7:30 pm.
City officials expect this year's event to be somewhat abbreviated because there won't be live music.
The fireworks show costs about $20,000, according to Townsend.
WDBJ 7 reached out to the Roanoke Times for comment about the changes this year, but we have not received a call back.
WDBJ 7 also scaled back in its sponsorship. The station is advertising the event, but did not provide any monetary sponsorship.