Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
by Jan Wilkins
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Some folks called it a miracle. I could not disagree. July 4, something happened on the soccer fields at River’s Edge Sports Complex-South in Roanoke. Something that I and others who work with me had written off as being impossible. Music For Americans went on as scheduled, capped off by some awe-inspiring fireworks.
It had rained in our region for what seemed to have been forever. The soccer fields were soaked like a wet sponge. Overnight, the Roanoke River had flooded Wiley Drive between the Roanoke River Greenway and the park, causing one of several heavy Port-o-Johns to float down to the railroad underpass.
The decision to cancel or go forward with the event was to be made by me and the Roanoke Parks and Recreation director. Most of the morning, the situation looked dire. We held an emergency meeting at 1 p.m., on site, under a tent, of my staff, Parks & Rec staff and city emergency services: EMS, fire and police. Despite a forecast of rain throughout the day, everyone’s opinion seemed to be: Let the show go on.
Many changes were necessary to ensure people’s safety and protect the soccer fields. Parks & Rec workers keep those fields in pristine condition; we had to avoid damaging them with production-related vehicles. For the most part, we succeeded.
At 5 p.m., celebrants began to arrive, but slowly. Most years, when the weather has been dry and hot, Music For Americans is attended by more than 25,000 people. Attendance this year was approximately 3,000 folks, who had fun even as the rain started and stopped and started and stopped again.
I cannot say thank you as many times as I’d like to everyone who helped make the celebration possible, especially Parks & Recreation and event sponsors. Thanks to them and the city, Music For Americans remains a free event, as it has been since its beginning in 1976.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us