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Fourth of July show draws crowd to Riverfront Park

July 4, 2018

HUNTINGTON - Thousands of spectators from across the Tri-State flocked to Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington and its surrounding areas Tuesday night for Kindred Communications’ 15th annual Dawg Dazzle concert and fireworks.

President of Kindred Communications Mike Kirtner said this year’s Dawg Dazzle put on the biggest fireworks display and biggest musical acts in its 15 years.

“We put on an event, we expect it to be this big,” said Nate Gilcher, who does sales and is an on-air personality at Kindred. “We set the bar high and we don’t go below the bar.”

Headliner and national touring act Chris Lane was preceded by Lucas Hoge, also a touring act, and local band Kala DeHart and RiverTown before a fireworks display approximately a half-hour long lit up the sky over the Ohio River.

Lane is known for his hit singles “Take Back Home Girl,” featuring Tori Kelly, and “For Her,” while Hoge is known for “Power of Garth.”

“We try to pick somebody who’s up and coming but still recognizable if you’re a Dawg listener or you listen to the radio,” Gilcher said.

With an estimated 17,000 in attendance in 2017, the event has grown greatly since 2003, when it was created because Huntington did not have fireworks one year.

“I said I’ll do it,” Kirtner said.

What started with $5,000 worth of fireworks, a church choir, a local band and a beer truck has turned into what Kirtner said is Huntington’s largest outdoor event. Including the people watching from the riverbanks, boats and rooftops, Kirtner estimated the total attendance to be close to that of the population of Huntington proper.

“Its attendance is second only to Marshall football, and just barely,” he said.

Each year Kindred prints 50,000 tickets for Dawg Dazzle, which are passed out and made available for free pickup at businesses across the Tri-State.

“I never saw this coming,” Kirtner said. “It’s fun to be able to give something back.”

Kindred’s upcoming event, for The Dawg’s sister station The Planet, is Planet Fest on Sept. 21 featuring headliner Fozzy and supporting acts Adelitas Way, Stone Broken, The Stir and Facing Fire.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter @megosborneHD.

Independence Day events

n Fourth of July concert. Old Central City Gazebo, Huntington. Featuring The Backyard Dixie Jazz Stompers at 1 p.m. and the Greater Huntington Symphonic Band at 2 p.m. Bring a lawn chair.

n Fourth of July Block Party, 5 p.m., Main Street, Barboursville. Inflatables, face painting, food and music. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.

n Summer Motion at Ashland Riverfront. Fireworks start at 10:15 p.m.

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