Economy takes bang out of the Fourth

June 22, 2009 6:01:43 PM PDT
At least 12 area communities have been forced to take drastic action and cancel their July Fourth fireworks celebrations. The reason is the tough economy.

Fireworks are the favorite part of Fourth of July for Mattie Graves. Blind since the age of 8, the Ridgefield Park resident hasn't missed a fireworks display in his 22 years.

"It's just the loud explosions and I feel the vibration," Mattie Graves said.

Mattie won't get to feel the fireworks this year. The village, which boasts the longest continuous Independence Day parade in the country, cancelled the display this year.

"You can't expect taxpayers to pick up something like that when we don't want to lay off anyone. You have to cut where you can," Ridgefield Park Commissioner Maggie Boyd said.

The finance chair says it costs 50-thousand dollars to put on the fireworks show. With 3 rainouts the past two years, reserves ran dry.

"We had money for the nighttime entertainment program that built up over the years, but that became depleted over the last two years," John Anlian said.

It's a lot more complicated than when a committee planned the town's Fourth of July events in 1905. Police from other towns are hired to handle the crowds, which come not in their wagons but in cars traveling from all over the country.

The fireworks may be canceled, but the parade must and will go on. Festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. and the parade at 11:30 a.m. on the Fourth of July along Main Street.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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