The Fuse Lit On Fireworks Date

Published 1:53 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FARMVILLE — Town Council is confronting an explosive issue.

To shoot off fireworks in 2014 or use the $4,000 to $5,000 on something else is a question that seems to have been answered in the affirmative for pyrotechnics.

But the fuse has been lit on choosing between the Fourth of July or Labor Day weekend for the annual Fireworks After Dark.

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The fireworks display in 2013 was originally scheduled in conjunction with the Fourth of July, on July 3, but heavy rains forced the Town to reschedule the event on Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend, which proved very popular, attracting a larger crowd than Independence Day.

During town council’s October work session, Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates had recommended foregoing a fireworks display “because of the economy.”

No action was taken on the recommendation then, though the lack of discussion made it appear as if the suggestion had been accepted.

Vice-Mayor Armstead D. Reid, however, fired a booster rocket on the issue during the regular October monthly meeting.

“I suggested, and it’s entirely up to council,” Spates responded, “if you want to do it we can do it. I think there’s pros and cons to doing it Labor Day weekend because it’s a long weekend, the university students will be here and you might have more participation.”
There are so many competing events associated with the Fourth of July, the town manager pointed out.

“But that’s up to council,” he said. “I just suggested that we cut it out to save money.”

When asked by council member Sally Thompson about the cost, Spates said the price of the fireworks is about $10,000 but the Town’s out-of-pocket expenses, because of sponsorships, is generally $4,000 to $5,000.

Reid advocated on behalf the fireworks, saying “I think it’s a good event for the community, the town.”

Fellow council member Donald L. Hunter believes Labor Day weekend is the best choice, citing increased attendance at this year’s Fireworks After Dark.

“It was a better crowd than the Fourth of July,” he said.

Spates said Town employees would be agreeable to work the event on either date.

“It’s fine with us,” he said. “We enjoy doing it.”

The town manager pointed out the attributes of a Labor Day weekend choice. “The thing is the Labor Day weekend is always the same so you always have a three-day weekend,” he said. “So that’s a plus. The Fourth of July, what was it this year, a Wednesday? Okay, so it’s in the middle of the week and, of course, we did it on the third so that we didn’t conflict with other people (events). I don’t think you’re going to conflict with anybody on Labor Day. And it might be a good venue for people to end the summer.”

Town council expects to readdress the issue during its November work session.