A proposal for fireworks

Published 8:34 pm Saturday, July 8, 2017

As it turns out, Suffolk is prone to thunderstorms on the Fourth of July.

But that’s not a new thing.

What is relatively new is the city’s annual fireworks program at Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina. The celebration goes back a dozen years or so, and in at least three of those years, thunderstorms have caused the program to be canceled or rescheduled.


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Everyone loves fireworks, but there’s no lack of opportunities for folks in the area to see them on the Fourth. The Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson Ruritan Club puts on a great show in the northern part of the city. Both Windsor and Smithfield offer other chances to see fireworks for folks who don’t want to leave Western Tidewater. And Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake all have great Independence Day fireworks shows.

But nobody in this area offers a Christmas fireworks show, and that could present a great opportunity for Suffolk.

Instead of gambling against the fickle weather of a Tidewater summer, suppose Suffolk decided, instead, to pair a fireworks spectacular with its annual Christmas parade or its Grand Illumination? Certainly there would be no guarantee against rain, but December thunderstorms are pretty rare in these parts. And imagine the sight of fireworks bursting in the air amidst a lightly falling snow.

Since it would not compete with other, larger fireworks events around Hampton Roads, a Christmas fireworks show would likely attract folks from outside of Suffolk to visit the downtown area, and it might result in more people from Suffolk visiting the Crittenden area for its Fourth of July festivities. That would be a win for both parts of the city.

Since it gets dark much earlier in December than July, the Christmas fireworks could be held earlier, finishing in time for visitors to enjoy a late dinner and maybe a little shopping downtown. That would be a welcome opportunity for the merchants and restaurateurs in central Suffolk.

Imagine if the city’s Christmas tree were moved to the waterfront, and the Grand Illumination was timed to coincide with the fireworks’ grand finale. Such an event would surely be one that folks looked forward to with great anticipation each year. And it would be far less likely to be canceled because of bad weather than the city’s too-often ill-fated Fourth of July celebrations.