Independence Day Fireworks

Published 1:05 pm Thursday, November 28, 2013

FARMVILLE — The fireworks decision came down, quite simply, to the rockets’ red glare.

The War of 1812.

Fort McHenry.

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And Francis Scott Key.

The Fourth, in other words, of July.

Not Labor Day weekend.

“My only thought is a patriotic one,” said council member Sally Thompson. “The Fourth of July, the rockets’ red glare.”

Not that summer fireworks are on many pre-Christmas to-do lists, but new 2014 calendars should be marked for July, not September.

Town Council chose the annual Independence Day observance for an aerial display by its pyrotechnic brigade, rather than switching to Labor Day weekend, which it was forced to do this year when the July 3 fireworks were rained out.

Labor Day is a good backup for the Fourth of July celebration, admitted council member Jamie Davis, but the Town needs to base the decision on the motivation behind the fireworks display, on what the celebration is all about.

“The purpose is to bring the community together,” he said, “and celebrate the foundation of America.”

Davis said either holiday observance would likely attract good crowds but “I think we might have to just go back to ‘why are we doing it?’ We’re celebrating the birth of America…I would think the reason would decide when we do it, versus attendance. I think it will be well-attended either time.”

There were arguments on both sides. Labor Day was seen as attracting more people to the Farmville Regional Airport and allowing a longer fireworks appetite-whetting gap from the Heart of Virginia fireworks, and avoiding competition with other Fourth of July celebrations, such as in Meherrin, that routinely find the Town holding its fireworks display on July 3.

Council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon said if the decision is made to switch to Labor Day then a patriotic statement should be made at the event that the fireworks “are dedicated to the troops…If you do it on the Fourth then I think it will say it automatically. That’s the only thing I would say.”

But Davis wondered if Labor Day would “take away from” or “minimize” the patriotic intentions.

His motion to keep lighting the fireworks fuses in conjunction with the Fourth of July passed with a unanimous bang.