Alton changing location of launching fireworks due to flooding

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ALTON, IL (KPLR) - Flood waters could force thousands of folks who love fireworks to change their plans this coming weekend.  Officials said the annual fireworks show in Alton will still go on Friday as planned. However, the rising river has flooded a popular viewing spot.

The Mississippi River has spilled out of its bank; IDOT closed the Great River Road north of town. Water surrounded Ardent Mills Monday night but it was not where near the red line that marked the record-setting ’93 flood level.

The Alton fireworks are usually set off on the Missouri side of the river. But, the land has been flooded and instead the fireworks will be launched on the Illinois side about a quarter-mile south of the amphitheater.

Dan Herkert is the Chief of Staff for the mayor of Alton, “It will be completely safe where we’re going to shoot them off.”

Officials say in West Alton is where thousands of kids and adults gather to watch the pyrotechnics but that land is also under water.  It looks like downtown Alton may be jammed this Friday night with lots of folks watching the show. Greg Burgess lives in Alton, “Everybody’s going to be right over here it’s going to be more crowded if they want to see it.”

Meanwhile, the luck of the Irish was no match for the flooding.  The brand new Morrison’s Irish Pub was set to open this week but that’s been delayed as the owners coped with pumping the river water out of the pub’s basement. Upstairs the bar was stocked and the beer was ready to flow when they do open their doors.

Co-owner Mary Vankirk said, “It’s a little heartbreaking it’s just delaying things we’ll still get there we’ll still open up.”

The flood may delay their plans but not the fireworks. People plan to show up and enjoy the show, flooding or not.  Burgess added, “Kids love it. Want to do it for the kids don’t you?”

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