More than 7,000 people are expected to congregate at Austintown Township Park on July 3 for the return of the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. It will be a gala family event starting at 4:30 p.m. and ending with the fireworks at 10 p.m.
According to township Trustee Jim Davis, the last fireworks display was in 2006 at Falcon Stadium. The following year there was not enough room on the Fitch campus with the new AMS building and the annual fireworks display fell by the wayside.
"I have been talking about bringing it back for the last two years," Davis said. "Now it has finally come together and on short notice."
Davis said in January of this year he figured a decent fireworks show would run around $15,000. To ensure the event would be a gala affair, Davis set his goal at bringing in $25,000.
"I set that goal and as of June 21, just six months later, we have $24,275," Davis said. "With donations such as generators, sound and stage equipment and volunteer services, we are close to $34,000 total."
He said the support of local businesses and donations from residents have made it all come together. He credits Mark Cole for helping, and is appreciative of Jimmy Johnson, a former Austintown Police officer who served as chairman of the Fourth of July committee. He made a special donation this year to honor his father.
"I set the goal of $25,000 for this to become a reality. I'm speechless," Davis said.
Another person who is excited about the fireworks is Township Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer. His crew has been busy preparing for the event while keeping safety in mind.
"We have mowed an entire field west of the pond," Shaffer said.
Mowing the field means less tall grass that would be present if there is a dry spell. By mowing it down, any low fireworks would be easier to put out. As far as guests at the event, Shaffer said no other fireworks will be permitted.
"Absolutely no novelty fireworks will be permitted," he said. " Anyone caught with them will be removed from the park. No exceptions."
That ban includes sparklers and bang snaps. Shaffer said he can't take chances with all the trees and brush in the park.
Prior to the fireworks display, the park will be open for a load of family fun including bouncers, live music, free kids' identi-kits, emergency vehicle displays and the Stat Medvac helicopter that is scheduled to land at the park.
Shaffer said parking will be available at the park, at the football fields west of the park on Kirk Road and at Emmanuel Church. Davis said he is still working on getting some off-site parking and will be using shuttle service into the park.
As for the music, three bands are scheduled to perform on the outdoor stage. Northern Whale will kick things off from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., followed by Perfect Pair from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. and Vegas from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.