The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Yes, really. For me, it’s better than my birthday, and trumps Christmas. I guess I’m just a summer girl who has fond memories of chasing fireflies at dusk after spending a day at the beach or swimming in a pool, sipping cool drinks, and looking up in the sky to see shimmering displays light up the night, brighter than any shooting stars could ever show off.
In 2010, Hillsborough was not able to continue the ongoing tradition of fireworks, which was usually held the week preceding the actual Fourth of July. The annual Fireworks and Family Fun day never happened due to township budgetary considerations.
I remember that. I was very disappointed. So were many of my neighbors, who for years had planned big family and neighborhood backyard barbecues on the day of the event. Believe it or not, when I bought my house, one of its selling points was that the deck of my backyard was considered to be one of the best viewing areas of the fireworks in the vicinity because of its close proximity to Auten Road School, and it also faced the right direction without trees blocking the line of sight.
Every year up until 2010, I had made a point to walk over to the school during daylight hours to and watch the kids go on the bouncy castles and don glow-in-the-dark bracelets before the fireworks started after dark. When my daughter was born, she joined me in the tradition, too.
Manda was 3 the first year she was able to stay awake late enough to see the fireworks show go off. The loud “booms” weren’t her cup of tea as a toddler, so I was able to cushion the noise by giving her a seat front-row-center behind our closed sliding glass door. I’ll never forget her face as she ooohed and aahed over the colorful sparks shooting like stars across the night sky.
Then 2010 rolled around, and some of my neighbors didn’t get the memo that the show was cancelled. Cars lined my street and other nearby roads on the anticipated date with out-of-town guests coming to visit for the planned cookouts; and when 9:30 p.m. came and went and there were no sparks flying, if you were outside you could hear the residents chatter – “What’s going on? Why no fireworks?”
I guess a big indication of the fireworks cancellation should have been that the usual “Don’t park here” signs were not placed on either side of the streets in my development so emergency vehicles could get through easily, if need be. I really think that people chose to believe that the show would go on, despite the missing no parking stakes planted curbside. Mind over matter, you know?
Then last year, I read in Patch that our former Assemblyman Pete Biondi and Provident Bank were going to fund the fireworks again for 2011! Woo hoo! I was excited! The annual local tradition was back! But I spoke too soon.
Mother Nature had other plans. The originally scheduled Fourth of July bash was washed out. So it was rescheduled, and would you believe that the celebration was rained out again! You would think three times is the charm, but no–the final attempt to put on the fireworks show was cancelled once more.
That concluded two years without the much-anticipated township fireworks show. I admit, I was spoiled. I like not leaving my own backyard to have front row seats to the best summer show in town. Trudging over to Bridgewater to sit on a lawn and be bitten by mosquitoes just seemed a little less appealing now. I’ve been to the fireworks shows at the beach, and had to park over a mile away from the boardwalk just to get a glimpse of the glitter in the sky.
With the passing of Biondi last November, I thought to myself, will the local fireworks just become a thing of the past now, too? So that’s when I contacted our mayor, who has reassured me that the show will go on!
“The Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration is in the process of being planned, including the sources for funding. At this point, we are considering the Saturday before or the Saturday after the Fourth of July and the same venue. Rest assured there will be a Fourth of July celebration this year,” stated Mayor Carl Suraci.
That was music to my ears! I can’t wait to start planning my summer barbecue! In anticipation of that, maybe everyone will join me in a chorus of “Rain, Rain Go Away,” as well–you know, just to be on the safe side. I’d also welcome any Native American sun dances being performed, and if you have a piece of wood handy, it wouldn’t hurt to knock on it either. The show must go on!