Town to celebrate Independence Day Tuesday
by Town Reminder
By Kristin Will
SOUTH HADLEY – Residents will be treated to a fiery display of brightly colored fireworks Tuesday, July 3 as part of the town’s annual Independence Day celebration.
The festive, free event will begin at 6 p.m. at Michael E. Smith Middle School where vendors and local groups will fill the parking lot with food and games. A DJ will be spinning tunes all evening long. Non-profit vendors will sell a selection of tasty treats, such as ice cream, fried dough, hot dogs, pretzels and a medley of baked goods, complete with an assortment of beverages such as soda and water.
A bungee climber or a rock wall will test residents’ abilities and a local Boy Scout troop will be hosting carnival-type games. Children can have their faces painted and jump around in a bounce house. Parents can purchase glow sticks for their children to wield and wave around.
At 7:30 p.m., the Community Band will play patriotic and festive tunes. During the firework display, they will perform some well-timed tunes to particular booms.
Exactly 1, 436 fireworks will be shot out of three, four and five-inch shells at the school’s athletic field by trained professionals, starting at 9:30 p.m. The fireworks are controlled by a computer manned by a trained professional from a special area on the field. The fireworks are shot far enough away from the large crowd, which allows debris to fall safely to the ground. According to state rule, spectators must be at least 400 feet away from the area from which fireworks are shot. Off-limits areas will be clearly marked.
The beautiful display is broken up into three segments. The first is the opening barrage, during which approximately 270 fireworks are launched. Next is the main portion, where about 550 fireworks are set. Finally, and arguably the best part, is the grand finale, in which 650 fireworks are rapidly detonated. Altogether, the show should last between 20 and 25 minutes.
New this year is the location from where the fireworks are shot. The spot has been moved higher up on one of the school’s athletic fields rather than from the adjoining valley, which Recreation Director Andrew Rogers suspects will allow for higher fireworks, increased excellent views and better seating.
“It’s a great event to see people you haven’t seen in a long time,” said Rogers. “A lot of local businesses stepped up to support this event. It’s a great time and people really seem to enjoy it.” Sponsoirs this year include PeoplesBank, Easthampton Savings Bank, the Lions Club, Metras Insurance Agency, Beers & Story Funeral Home and Veryl’s.
Rogers said he has heard from many event-goers that firework displays in other communities pale in comparison to South Hadley’s.
Residents should bring picnic blankets and seating with themselves to their field locations. Prime positioning for viewing the patriotic display is directly on the Middle School field, as the fireworks will be directly overheard. Other residents, however, choose to watch from the soccer field across the street at Mosier Elementary School, in both schools’ parking lots and various locations throughout the town.
Parking can perhaps become a predicament, so make sure to get to the area early enough to park in the Mosier and Middle school parking lots. Side streets are perfect places to park and some local residents rent out their lawns and driveways for the public in which to park. Residents should be prepared to walk. The Department of Public Works and the South Hadley Police Department will mark where parking is and is not available and those with disabilities and special needs will be accommodated much closer to the field.
A rain date is set for Friday, July 5 A cancellation hotline has been set up and can be contacted by calling (413) 538-5017 ext. 233. Residents can visit the Recreation Department website via the town of South Hadley’s website at http://www.southhadley.org or directly via http://www.southhadley.org/Pages/SouthHadleyMA_Recreation/index to check the Recreation Department’s website.