Fourth of July weekend is here (I really can't believe it!), and that means most of us Americans are about to head into a whirlwind of beach time, pool time, beer/burgers/brats, and fireworks! Are you with me?! Oh, but wait -- there actually won't be fireworks in lots of towns and cities this year. Major metropolises like Chicago have nixed displays, citing financial concerns. Other towns have cancelled their shows, blaming finances, but Mother Nature hasn't cooperated either.
People in the Arizona cities of Flagstaff, Tucson, Douglas, and Sierra Vista won't have their fireworks, due to wildfires, and in New Mexico, the sale or use of personal fireworks is being strongly discouraged. And sadly, Texas won't be going big this Fourth. Officials in 233 of the state's 254 counties have banned fireworks, due to a drought.
Depressing, right? I still can't get over the fact that the Windy City (my hometown) cancelled their Taste of Chicago fireworks, because of a budget shortfall. (Residents can still see fireworks at Navy Pier on July 2 and 4, thank goodness.)
I get that in some of these cases, there's nothing they can do. It would be better not to take the risk that fireworks could create an even more dangerous or harrowing situation, in places like Joplin, Missouri that we can all agree has already been through enough.
But when it comes down to a budget issue in a place where personal fireworks are already banned? That means no one will be enjoying any kind of live fireworks display, and that's just heartbreaking. The Fourth of July is fireworks. You can't celebrate this holiday without 'em. And I'm not talking about just watching them on TV. I love the smell of a sparkler or a firecracker. It's SUMMER in lights and sounds.
Maybe some of these cities that have had to cancel their public display should encourage people to get the little fireworks or tell them where they can go to see another that's semi-local to them. Or maybe, in the rebellious spirit of the holiday, people in these towns and cities should band together to put on their own fireworks show (somewhere safe and, ahem, legal, of course).
It's certainly not clear what the overall solution is here. It's just a sad situation. With hope, though, everyone will find a fireworks show to enjoy. Because the season wouldn't be the same without it.
Will you be seeing a fireworks display and/or setting off your own this year?
Image via Amani Hasan/Flickr