NJ shore mayors: Fireworks are only cancelled for good reason
The fireworks show every Wednesday night during the summer in Seaside Heights brings in droves of visitors who may have otherwise stayed home. It's been a midweek event for decades as a way to attract business on days outside the weekend.
But when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, the loud and colorful sky display is scrapped, sometimes moments before it's scheduled to launch.
Mayor Tony Vaz understands this may upset some visitors, particularly those who came just for the show, but he doesn't want a repeat of what happened in 1984, when he served on the borough council.
In August of that year, a 9-year-old boy from Clifton was killed when the wind swept up an unexploded fireworks shell and dropped it into a large crowd that was watching from the Seaside Heights boardwalk. His mother was hit by the shell as well and was treated for minor injuries.
So the wind is a weekly threat for officials today, and it's the primary factor when deciding whether or not the show will go on.
According to Vaz, fireworks were cancelled just once so far this summer - a positive statistic compared to just a couple years ago when nearly 10 fireworks displays were scrapped or moved to another day.
In the past, the borough only had the option of shooting fireworks from the south end of the beach, but officials have made it possible for the north end to accommodate the show if conditions towards the south aren't ideal.
In Wildwood, every Friday night is fireworks night during the summer. Officials there are less concerned with wind because of the wide beach, but weather still plays a role.
"There's a number of reasons for cancelling - rain being the primary one," Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr. said. "But you also have fog. You also have low clouds."
If the "ceiling" isn't high enough, Troaino said, onlookers will only see a faint glow through the haze, instead of the real deal. And there's no reason to waste money on a "$30,000 glow."
The city's July 4 fireworks show was postponed due to rain. It was moved to the next week. According to Troiano, the decision to cancel or move a show usually comes on Friday morning.
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