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Fireball Run will come to Watertown

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The 2012 Fireball Run event is set to happen in the city of Watertown on Sept. 25.

Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce officials got the word Friday from the producers of the 2,500-mile tour who decided they will go ahead with coming to the city that day.

“I’m thrilled that we’re getting our chance to shine,” said Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham after receiving a call from the chamber that Watertown will be a part of the road rally tour.

Earlier this week, the road rally producers threatened to move the host destination to Sackets Harbor after city officials expressed concerns about closing downtown traffic along a section of Washington Street for several hours of that day and suggested alternative sites, including Thompson Park.

Lynn M. Pietroski, the chamber’s CEO and president, said her organization is ready to roll.

“We have a great community and we’ll continue to plan for the event,” she said, adding it will now be time to get other groups involved.

For instance, the city Police Department will provide help with traffic control and Department of Public Works crews will also help that day, Ms. Pietroski said.

As for the day of the event, a tour finish line will be located near the Roswell P. Flower statue, where teams will end the day’s competition at 3:30 p.m. and the street will be closed from the statue to Sterling Street from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.

City and chamber officials met Thursday to resolve the issue, but the producers needed to decide whether to accept the city’s proposal.

Produced by Universal Studios, the tour will be filmed and made into a movie, “Northern Exposure,” highlighting the its eight destinations. The city is tentatively the fourth destination. After leaving the Watertown area, the cars will visit Burlington, Vt., before concluding the tour in Bangor, Maine.

Chamber officials have been planning the Fireball Run adventure competition since January, when the city was selected as a host destination for the tour that will run from Sept. 21 to 29.

Using all types of vehicles, 40 drive teams will compete in a road rally unlike any other, according to the chamber’s website.

The driving teams will use more brainpower than horsepower, solving clues and accomplishing missions to navigate the route and compile scores.

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