The Fourth of July, Quieter: When Budget Cuts Threaten Fireworks Displays

The Fourth of July, Quieter: When Budget Cuts Threaten Fireworks Displays

The night sky on July Fourth might be a little less bright this year. As cities face tightened budgets, many are passing on the traditional fireworks displays.

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

What’s a Fourth of July night without that jolting, yet familiar, crackle-and-snap?

It’s no secret that in an age of tightened budgets and high unemployment rates, cash-strapped cities are trying to find ways to cut corners. In many cities across the U.S. this year, fireworks displays will be notably absent from July Fourth celebrations.

With the traditional festivities in jeopardy, many communities have turned to corporate sponsors and local fundraisers to help foot the bill.

In New Rochelle, N.Y., a sum of $60,000 was raised through private donations, rescuing the annual fireworks event from cancellation.

Cities have not always been hard-pressed to raise such funds. During the 1980s through the ‘90s, more than 70 percent of public fireworks displays were paid for by government funds. Today, public donations and corporate sponsorships pay for 75 percent of the estimated 14,000 municipal displays across the U.S.

Some cities have gotten creative in their efforts to save money, and have explored scheduling fireworks events for a few days before or after the Fourth, in order to reduce police and firefighter overtime pay.

Budget cuts aren’t the only factors responsible for the shortage of fireworks celebrations this year. Nature has undoubtedly played a role, too.

In the midst of a moderate-to-severe drought, many residents in Indiana have been urged to cancel fireworks in an effort to prevent blazes that are easily sparked by the extremely dry conditions. In Colorado, more than 30 cities and counties have cancelled fireworks displays due to the forest fires ravaging the state.

In Philadelphia, the fireworks display is set to go off as usual, but the regular observers may have some unexpected company: July Fourth is the last day of the first national gathering of the Occupy movement, a five-day event that commenced in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Tags: budgetsprotests

×
Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 652 other sustainers such as:

  • Dina in San Francisco, CA at $60/Year
  • Anonymous at $10/Month
  • Andrew in Philadelphia, PA at $5/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $10 or $5/Month

    Next City notebook

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    The 21 Best Solutions of 2021 special edition magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind