Town Workshop Hints at Removing Fireworks from July 4th  - TribPapers

Town Workshop Hints at Removing Fireworks from July 4th 

Graphic by Anthony Abraira.

Weaverville – Among the topics discussed at the Weaverville Town Council’s July workshop was the future of fireworks during the Fourth of July celebration.

Costly Expenses and Alternative Options

While saying the turnout was good for the Fourth of July event, Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons said some people had voiced concerns over fireworks. Fitzsimmons said that Town Manager Selena Coffey had come prepared with alternatives.

She said that in the last few years, the cost just for fireworks has gone from about $17,000 to nearly $30,000. Add in the associated expense of preparation and staffing for the event, and the town was looking at $70,000 this year.

Several alternatives to fireworks include a laser light show and a drone light show. All of the alternatives have their own drawbacks. She then talked about a close proximity fireworks show that would be 80 percent less noisy than the regular show. “They are not quite. It does remove some of those larger booms and some of those pop, pop, pops…it does reduce some of that back, but the difference in the show, and if you didn’t see our show this year, it was fantastic, it was a great show! But these kinds of shows are not going to be that aesthetically pleasing,” Coffey told the council.

Considering a Festival Instead

Councilman Doug Jackson suggested the town stop doing fireworks and go for an alternative. Coffey agreed and offered an option, like a festival, instead. They then talked about what other towns are doing. Councilwoman Catherine Cordell said Mars Hill has fireworks but uses a larger area than Weaverville has to launch them. Councilman John Chase also agreed that it might be time to do something else besides fireworks.

Councilman Jeff McKenna asked if the savings would be that significant. Coffey said she believed it would be. He asked how many complaints had been received because of the fireworks, and Coffey said she had received about five. Police Chief Ron Davis said that number was a larger number that came into the department.

Coffey said she was confident that the town could come up with a festival that would please the community. The council decided to put it on the agenda for July’s regular meeting, with most of the council in agreement to do away with fireworks. However, the item was not seen on the agenda when it was posted on the town’s website on Friday (July 21st). They also talked about any rule changes for a festival before moving on to other items on the agenda.