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UPDATE: Celebration 2013 still on, despite rain
Crews assemble the stage for Celebration 2013 on Monday at Martinsville Speedway. Mike Smith, the speedway’s public relations director, said Tuesday the event will go on as planned despite forecasts of rain, unless showers are “absolutely torrential.” (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
UPDATE: Celebration 2013 still is a go.
Despite rain that has fallen on the area much of the day, the pre-Independence Day celebration still is scheduled to begin at 5 this afternoon at the Martinsville Speedway, according to Mike Smith, speedway’s public relations director.
Around 2 p.m. today, he confirmed that gates still are scheduled to open at 5 p.m. and the entertainment will begin at 7.
Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.
That is what Martinsville Speedway officials are saying in hopes the Celebration 2013, which will run from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. today, will go on as planned.
The Independence Day celebration will feature carnival rides, concessions, musical performances and what is billed as the area’s largest fireworks show. All of the activities are free.
Mike Smith, the speedway’s public relations director, said plans are for the show to go on rain or shine. But if it rains too much for too long, activities may have to be canceled, he acknowledged.
That has never happened in the event’s 15-year history.
The National Weather Service in Blacksburg on Tuesday forecasted a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for the Martinsville area this evening. Meteorologists said the rain could be heavy at times.
Smith said the show must go on because the headlining musical act, Night Ranger, as well as pyrotechnicians who will set off the fireworks have other commitments on Thursday and cannot be at the speedway that day.
The stage has a cover over it, so the music performances can go on “unless it (rain) is absolutely torrential,” he said.
If any precipitation is that heavy and it looks like it will linger all evening, the entire event, or remaining activities, probably would be canceled, he said.
But “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Smith said.
If heavy rain and/or storms occur during the celebration, visitors will be encouraged to seek shelter immediately. Instructions will be posted on video screens at the speedway, according to Smith.
Visitors to Celebration 2013 are asked to bring some nonperishable food items and/or personal care products to help the needy as part of the Fuel For Families Food Drive.
Items can be dropped off at one of several collection areas at entrance gates and in the carnival ride area.
More than a dozen carnival rides will be featured. Smith said he thinks this year’s rides will be the best in the celebration’s history. Rides will begin when the gates open at 5.
Project 4, a Roanoke rock band, will perform at 7 p.m.
Night Ranger, a rock group that had several hit songs during the 1980s, including “Sister Christian” and “When You Close Your Eyes,” will perform at 8:30 p.m. Smith noted that it is a high energy group, and he thinks visitors will have fun during the concert.
“It’s a little different type of band than we’ve had in the past,” he said. Past performers mostly have been country singers and groups.
Weather permitting, fireworks are to follow Night Ranger’s performance.
“Our fireworks seem to keep getting better and better every year,” Smith said.
So does the entire celebration, he said.
Celebration 2013 is being made possible through donations from 40 local businesses and organizations sponsoring the event.