Fireworks usher in Independence Day

by Town Reminder

Firework preview

By William Pead
Turley Correspondent

SOUTH HADLEY – A family tradition returns on Wednesday July 3, as fireworks will fill the sky over the Michael E. Smith Middle School.
Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the pyrotechnics display set for 9:30 p.m. The rain date is Friday, July 5.
Jim Reidy, Department of Public Works superintendent said Atlas Advanced Pyrotechnics of Jaffrey, New Hampshire will supply the fireworks. Atlas is well-known for their colorful pyrotechnic productions in cities throughout the U.S., including Boston and Washington, DC. They’ve even supplied fireworks to Shanghai, China.
Reidy said safety is a priority with all the appropriate departments coordinating the effort with Atlas including Fire District 2 Chief David Keefe.
He said, “We meet on site with the shooter and review a bunch of safety procedures.”
As for attendance, Keefe said, “last year, in the ten years I’ve been running this, I thought was the biggest one we’ve had.” The weather he said was perfect, with four to five thousand people turning out at the Middle School.
The fireworks can be seen from many vantage points, but Keefe said actually being there on the school grounds is the way to go.
“We want to encourage everybody to be at the Middle School to support the nonprofit vendors.” Among those vendors are the Lions Clubs, Second Baptist Church and other town nonprofits.
There’s always fried dough, hotdogs, ice cream, soda and water offered for sale. Glow sticks will also be sold at the event.
Reidy said it’s a great event.
“It’s a great time to get together during the summer season. see people you haven’t seen in a long time,” he said. “The young students from South Hadley, they’re out of school for a few weeks, and it’s a chance to catch up with the students you go to school with all year.”
Peoples Bank is the major corporate sponsor of the annual event. Joining them are Metras Insurance, Easthampton Savings, Veryl’s Automotive, and the South Hadley Lion’s Club. Reidy emphasized that no taxpayer money is used to fund the ten thousand dollar cost of the fireworks.
The July 3 fireworks celebration is just one of the upcoming summer events in South Hadley. There’s also a Summer Concert Series with free Thursday evening performances from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the town common gazebo through Aug. 23.
Falls Fest is Saturday, July 27 at the Beachgrounds in South Hadley Falls. The free daylong event will feature music, crafts and food.