On Wednesday afternoon, in response to numerous inquiries, the Town of Ocean City announced it was rescheduling the planned Fourth of July fireworks downtown and at Northside Park. On Thursday morning, the Ocean Pines Association followed with an announcement to reschedule holiday festivities for Saturday and Sunday.
Due to weather concerns and the fact the fireworks vendor will be unable to have the appropriate amount of set-up time, Ocean City acted with the proper amount of haste in announcing the two fireworks displays would be held on Saturday, July 5 instead of the traditional holiday date.
While hindsight may prove otherwise, we think this was the right decision to make. Although most models confirmed Arthur — whether it’s a low grade hurricane or significant tropical storm — would pass safety off Ocean City’s coast by this afternoon, the concern was the rain and wind in Ocean City and the impact the conditions could have on attendees as well as public safety officials and the fireworks operators.
Early business outlooks for the weekend look promising despite the storm providing a major distraction throughout the week. The change in the fireworks should prove to be a minor issue when the weekend as a whole is concerned because Saturday looks to be the better weather day over Friday.
There are really only two negatives associated with postponing the fireworks.
One is the issue of the weekly Saturday-to-Saturday rentals missing it altogether and that’s a shame because some may have planned their trip around the holiday fireworks. It’s simply Mother Nature bringing bad luck to their plans.
Secondly, it’s bound to hurt Saturday sales for restaurants. In most cases, restaurants, particularly those without fireworks views, clear out before the fireworks because people naturally do not want to miss them. They either eat earlier in the evening or they simply bypass dining out in lieu of something more casual with the fireworks looming and traffic and parking concerns on their mind.
Despite these scenarios, decision makers in Ocean City and Ocean Pines did the right thing in getting out in front of this decision and making it early on. The advanced notice gave people plenty of time to make other arrangements and quickly answered the questions on the minds of many.
It was a public safety call at its most fundamental and the authorities in charge made the right decision.