Fourth of July fireworks head to COTA for first time

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The annual Fourth of July fireworks display in Austin will not be downtown this year. Instead, the concert and fireworks display, traditionally held at Auditorium Shores, will be hosted at the Austin360 Amphitheater at the Circuit of the Americas.

Auditorium Shores is currently undergoing renovations, and there is no room for people to watch from there, so COTA offered to host the show.

“To be able to keep that event going, and to have the 4th of July celebration, even if it’s at a different location, is something we wanted to make sure happened this year,” said Ali Putnam with COTA.

According to a statement released by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the move is planned only for this year, and next year the event will return to Auditorium Shores.

COTA will host a variety of activities to celebrate Independence Day. Gates open at 4 p.m., and they day includes interactive games for kids, contests, and even go-karts on the track for adults. The orchestra will perform at 8:30 p.m. in the amphitheater, followed by the fireworks at approximately 9:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“We’ve done it every year, pretty much. We go downtown and check it out,” said John Ruiz.

Ruiz isn’t bummed the show moved this year, though. He and his family live close to COTA and says getting around and parking downtown can be tricky.

“It’ll be a lot better,” he said, “there’s a lot more space.”

Others, though, are thinking they’ll have to miss out on the fireworks this year.

“I was kind of disappointed,” said Brock McVay. “It used to be so convenient to just go down and watch them.”

For many, it’s a temporary change that won’t make too much of a difference.

“If it’s only for one year, and if you love it, you’ll go, wherever it’s going to be,” said Sylvia Jackson.

The HEB Austin Symphony Concert and Fireworks is planned, produced and performed entirely by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

  • Parking lots open at 3 p.m.
  • Free parking in COTA Lot F.
  • Up-close parking available on Lots A, C & H for $10.
  • Gates open and COTA activities begin at 4 p.m.
  • Concert begins at 8:30 p.m.
  • Fireworks begins approximately at 9:30 p.m.
  • Austin360 Amphitheater general and lawn seating is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Other lawn areas are open and can be used by any one on a first come, first serve basis.
  • On-site camping is available.
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at the Circuit of The Americas

The following items will not be permitted inside the gates of Circuit of The Americas during major sports and entertainment events. In addition to items specifically listed here, other items that may be deemed to present a potential hindrance or threat may also be prohibited:

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Animals (exception for certified service animals)
  • Bags or parcels larger than 12X12X20 inches
  • Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skates, segways, golf carts or other unauthorized means of transportation (Bikes are permitted but under certain COTA restrictions.
  • Distribution of unauthorized promotional or commercial material
  • Fireworks, explosives or other incendiary devices
  • Glass or metal containers of any style
  • Illegal substances
  • Items that may be deemed a safety hazard or annoyance to participants or guests (balls, Frisbees, balloons, projectiles, horns, radios, bells, whistles, musical instruments, laser pointers, etc.)
  • Large, golf-type umbrellas
  • Non-collapsible chairs
  • Tents or canopies
  • Video cameras, audio recording devices and tripods; no video recording will be allowed
  • Weapons of any kind, including guns, knives, pepper spray, handcuffs, nightsticks or other items

The following items will be permitted inside the circuit gates:

  • Picnic baskets or coolers with food and non-alcoholic beverages in sealed plastic containers
  • Blankets
  • Umbrellas (small, hand-held style)
  • Baby strollers
  • Portable, collapsible chairs
  • Personal camera equipment (e.g. digital cameras, point-and-click digital cameras or film cameras)
  • Binoculars
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