Despite the current financial crunch that threatened to eliminate fireworks shows in Wallingford and Meriden, both have found a way to save their respective annual fireworks displays for 2009. This scenario is being played out in communities across the nation as neighborhoods struggle to find a place in the budget for the popular summertime event. Some, like Yonkers, N.Y. and Tuscon, AZ, have canceled their shows. Other places are also feeling the money crunch, but manage to find the funds to allow the displays to go on as planned.
Meriden: Outsourcing the Big Bang
In Meriden, the City Council went ahead with plans to eliminate the $23,000 cost of their fireworks show when it became known that the Westfield Mall would go be staging their own display. Even if the mall had not planned to hold their own event, the council said they probably would have gone ahead with a scaled back version of the original, with the savings being realized either through shortening the duration of the program or asking their vendor to use less expensive materials.
Wallingford: The Town Taketh Away, Then Giveth Back
Wallingford had originally decided to eliminate their fireworks display due to difficulties with their town budget, but reversed that decision when it was realized that the shortfall could be made up in other areas of the budget. The $31,000 expense would be offset by a $30,000 savings on the cost of the town’s property and casualty insurance. The decision was not unanimous, however. Some councilors supported holding the program because the cost is such a small part of the overall budget, making cancellation of the event symbolic at best.
Others were not so supportive of the idea, though. They reasoned that, because of the amount of layoffs happening in the town, any celebration that took place would be hard to explain to those who might be on the receiving end of a pink slip. In the end, tradition won out and the night of fun and excitement that so many have come to expect will still light up the night sky. Come out and celebrate the birth of our nation!
UPDATE: There is no rain date for the Wallingford fireworks display. In the event of inclement weather, the decision to cancel the display will be made by 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Local radio and television stations will be notified of the cancellation.
Where To Go:
In Meriden, the festivities will commence at 9:15PM Saturday, July 4th, on the top level of the Sears parking garage at the Westfield Shopping Mall, 470 Lewis Avenue.
In Wallingford, the annual event will kick off as usual on July 3rd at 9:15PM on the knoll at Moran Middle School, 141 Hope Hill Road. Music provided by the Wallingford Community “R Band” will begin at 8:15PM.