CLEVELAND -- A popular summer event and free outdoor concert with the Cleveland Orchestra and fireworks display took on added meaning Wednesday night.
The 30th Annual Star Spangled Spectacular in downtown Cleveland was the first major “open air” event since two mass shootings claimed the lives of 31 people.
The patriotic themed event usually happens around the 4th of July holiday, but was postponed this year due to the All-Star Game.
As thousands gathered on Mall B between Lakeside and St. Clair avenues they were greeted by an increased law enforcement presence and flags flying at half staff for the shooting victims.
“You know there’s nobody who hasn’t been touched by these tragedies, our hearts go out to all of them,” said Joan Katz-Napoli, Cleveland Orchestra Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement.
Cleveland police didn’t release tactical details, but confirmed a special security detail would be around the event to keep everyone safe.
Attendees were reminded to be alert and to report anything suspicious to law enforcement immediately. Something they say people should always do.
Those who attended said they appreciated seeing the extra security.
“We never did second guess whether we were gonna come or not,” said Mary Schoeffler.
Some in attendance actually said they were glad the event had been postponed and felt that the timing this night was perfect, because they say music can be very healing and unifying.
“I think this is a good time to come out to show that we still are Americans and we love each other, we still support each other and we are a country that cares,” said Jay Carl Singleton.