Sidney’s tradition of July 4th fireworks continues

SIDNEY — Despite the increasing expense of fireworks displays, it simply wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. Since the founding of the country, fireworks have been a part of the celebration.

Historians credit America’s first vice president and second president for promoting the idea of lighting up the sky each Independence Day. The day after the Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776, Adams wrote one of his many letters home to his wife Abigail.

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

The City of Sidney has long celebrated with fireworks. Sidney’s traditional fireworks display will be held on Wednesday, July 4, at 980 Fair Road (Sidney Middle School). This year’s fireworks display is once again made possible through the generous donations of local businesses and corporations. Those businesses include Wilson Health, Emerson, Buckeye Ford, NK Telco, Goffena Furniture, S&S Hospitality Management, Ferguson Construction Company and Mutual Federal Savings Bank.

As has been past practice, the city of Sidney will continue to provide in-kind services for this event by way of site inspection, fire protection during the exhibit, traffic control and help provide for the safety and welfare of the residents, before, during and after the event. The fireworks exhibit is scheduled to begin at 10:00 PM. In the event of rain, the fireworks will be held on July 5th at the same time and location.

“I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of so many within out great city,” Sidney Mike Barhorst stated. “I would encourage residents to thank the businesses and individuals who are helping to sponsor this year’s fireworks either in person, by writing a note, sending an email message or purchasing their products. That gesture can help guarantee that we will continue to have fireworks in the coming years.”

The Great Recession almost put an end to the fireworks, Barhorst recalled.

“Council had made deep cuts in the City’s budget and in the process, eliminated dozens of jobs. We didn’t feel comfortable funding the fireworks in light of those deep budget cuts. Following my annual State of the City message delivered at a meeting of the Sidney Rotary Club, then Wilson Hospital President Tom Boecker approached me following the meeting about the hospital potentially funding the fireworks.”

“When he got back to me a couple of weeks later, he indicated that the hospital would fund the fireworks that year on condition that I find additional funders in future years,” Barhorst continued. “While the list of those funding the fireworks has changed from year to year, the hospital has continued their commitment. A number of the sponsors – Emerson, Buckeye Ford, NK Telco, and S&S Hospitality Management – have been alongside Wilson Health after that first year.

Residents are reminded that only state licensed exhibitors can display and discharge fireworks.

In 2016 (statistics are not yet available for 2017), more than 11,000 Americans were seriously injured in accidents involving fireworks, and four were killed.

“Residents are reminded of the danger fireworks can pose if not handled properly,” Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones said. “The only type of fireworks that can be legally discharged by the public are trick and novelty devices – or items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake. These devices should only be used by adults, or children who are under direct adult supervision.”

“Even those devices get hot enough to ignite clothing and cause burn injuries,” Jones said. “As an example, sparklers are commonly given to children – sparklers burn at 1200 degrees as a reference point, water boils at 212 degrees, cakes bake at 350 degrees, wood burns at 575 degrees, and glass melts at 900 degrees.”

“I want to mention a couple of other points in an attempt to convince residents that they should not purchase fireworks to use at home.” Jones said. “In addition to serious injuries and deaths, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 fires outdoors.”

“We simply want everyone to have a safe holiday,” Barhorst said. “I would also remind residents that in the event of inclement weather, the fireworks will be held on July 5 at the same time and location.”