DANVERS (CBS) — As Justin Clark hit ground balls to a pair of 8 year olds in Plains Park this morning – all of them bemoaned the cancellation of a big annual event here.
“It’s kind of sad that we can’t do ‘em anymore,” says Clark’s son Bryson.READ MORE: New Memorial In Worcester Honors Firefighters Killed In Line Of Duty
“It’s unfortunate that a marquee event of the summer is no longer,” adds his Dad.
They’re talking about Danvers’ July 3rd fireworks show – nixed by the privately funded Family Festival Board that has staged it for more than three decades.
The decision was actually announced several months ago but the reality of it is just settling in for residents as the holiday weekend approaches.
“We just weren’t going to be able to provide a wonderful and exciting fireworks show like we have for the last 35 years,” explains board member John Call.
No surprise, it’s mostly about the expense of safety.
The lion’s share of the blame goes to skyrocketing security costs in the wake of both 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings.
Things like special security fencing, police details, and spectator screening by bomb-sniffing dogs has driven the cost of the fireworks show to $100,000 – almost double what it was just a few years ago.
“Safety first,” says Justin Clark. “I understand that. But it is what it is.”
It isn’t all dollars and cents, though.
New regulations mean that some existing homes – and some new condos – are inside the launch site safety perimeter. That would require smaller, less impressive fireworks that would burst lower in the sky – perhaps partially obscured by the park’s tall trees.READ MORE: 2 Extricated From Car After Crash In Medford
“It’s a tradition that people have done for many, many, many years,” says Candy Vesey. “And it’s a bummer that it’s not happening anymore.”
“These traditions are going away,” says Justin Clark. “We live in a great country and it’s nice to celebrate that every Fourth.”
Sacking the show is not a popular verdict but it’s one that many towns could face in coming years – despite public sentiment to stay strong amid terrorism.
“And so because of that,” board member Call says, “people think terrorists are winning when we take away things like fireworks.”
While fans hope the display isn’t doomed permanently, some officials fear it is – for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense to an 8 year old.
“Yeah well, I don’t really get that,” says Bryson Clark.
“I think they’ll be a push next year to get it back,” says his father.
There are plenty of other family friendly events in Danvers this week leading up to the 4th of July. But with no fireworks in Danvers this Friday, neighboring Salem is ramping up for 30 thousand additional spectators at its show on Saturday.
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