Fireworks and Daiquiri Dreams 

Mayor Jones makes a star-spangled announcement about the Fourth of July.

The news release declares: "Dominion Resources, MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV) and the City of Richmond will announce details of a major event taking place this summer along Richmond's Downtown Riverfront."

Oh boy! A Wet Willie's grain-alcohol daiquiri bar is opening on the Canal Walk. It'll finally be cool like Savannah's River Street.

Nope. On Friday, the press corps gathers on a bridge to Brown's Island to hear the big announcement. A sign reads: "RVA Fireworks."

Another sign: "M-80s and bottle rockets now legal in the city limits! Light 'em up!"

No. The sign says "Patriotic Family Fun." The bridge is decorated with red, white and blue bunting. Loudspeakers on stands blare James Brown's "Living in America." We can guess where this is going.

Mayor Dwight Jones strips down to his stars-and-stripes boxing shorts and challenges Dominion's chief executive, Thomas Farrell, to a goodwill exhibition match. "I cannot be defeated," Farrell says. "I beat all man."

No. Youth from the School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community start mugging for the cameras. One has a star shaved into his hair, which is pretty awesome. Then it's speech time. Mayor Dwight Jones tells the crowd he rode a bike to work today, as part of National Ride Your Bike to Work Day.

After riding his bike to work, Mayor Jones arrived at the news conference in a black SUV with tinted windows and two handlers in dark suits. From City Hall to this bridge is a journey of exactly one mile.

Yeah, that's actually true. But hey, he's the mayor. Anyway, Jones announces the big news: a spectacular fireworks show on the river set for Sunday, July 3. The SPARC kids and the Richmond Youth Symphony Orchestra will play. It will be "an enjoyment and entertainment," Jones says, for locals and tourists alike. And the fireworks will be paid for by Dominion and MeadWestvaco, whose headquarters tower in the background.

Dominion is "a great neighbor and a great friend," enthuses MeadWestvaco Chief Executive John A. Luke Jr.

The fireworks will spell out "Cardboard <3 Coal 4 Ever."

No. But they will be very nice fireworks, Farrell assures everyone. They will be produced by the same company that does the fireworks at the Washington Monument, he says. "That big."


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