July 4 weekend fireworks may return to Smithfield

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2021

COVID-19 took the sparkle out of the sky for many Independence Day celebrations in 2020.

But if the pandemic has eased, Smithfield is hoping to celebrate America’s birthday this summer with the traditional rockets’ red glare and celebratory bombs bursting in air. Town Council unanimously authorized the town manager on Feb. 2 to move forward with securing a contract for a fireworks show.

“Looks like we’re going to have a fireworks display on the 2nd of July if our money is not funny,” Mayor Carter Williams said after the decision. “And if we’re allowed to gather,” Councilmember Randy Pack added.

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The choice of July 2, a Friday, versus the town’s usual date of July 3 is due to the availability of the fireworks company, Michael Stallings, the town manager, explained at the meeting. Without acting now to set a contract, several months ahead of the holiday, Stallings said the company could get hired to do a fireworks show elsewhere.

Pack said having an early July 4 event is often an advantage. People come into town to enjoy Smithfield’s show but head out elsewhere in the region where nearly all of the surrounding communities have large scale events. He said that gives the town the best of both worlds — an influx of visitors but relative calm on the actual holiday, which falls on a Sunday in 2021.

Isle of Wight County hosted a drive-in July 4 fireworks show at Heritage Park Fairgrounds last summer. Normally, the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation produces two shows — one in Smithfield and one in Windsor — but due to the pandemic, officials held a single event.

Stallings said county officials recently notified the town that they intend to do the same thing this year. However, he noted that the county has not asked the town to contribute financially to the Isle of Wight event.