Fourth Of July Snafu Results In Enhanced Labor Day Fireworks Show

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City officials this week announced an enhanced Labor Day fireworks show as compensation of sorts from a private contractor for the less-than-stellar Fourth of July displays.

During last week’s Mayor and Council meeting, it came to light the Fourth of July fireworks shows downtown and at Northside Park, which fizzled for the most part instead of dazzled, were the result of mislabeled fuses provided by Image Engineering, the private firm contracted this year to provide the holiday shows. Last week, resort officials announced they were working with Image Engineering on some form of compensation for the shortcomings of the Fourth of July shows and this week announced the company will be presenting an enhanced fireworks show on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend at Northside Park.

The Labor Day fireworks show on Sunday, Sept. 3 was already planned as part of the season ending of the popular Sundaes in the Park event at Northside Park, but because of the shortcomings during the Fourth of July displays, Image Engineering will present an upgraded, more elaborate show on Sept. 3 to send summer off with a bang. The opportunity to upgrade the fireworks during the Labor Day event came after a disappointing glitch during the Independence Day shows both downtown and at Northside Park, according to Mayor Rick Meehan.

“We encountered an unfortunate malfunction during our Independence Day fireworks shows, but we are excited to have the opportunity to make up for that experience and provide the quality fireworks presentation our residents and visitors have come to expect,” he said. “Our special events team has been working closely with Image Engineering, the city’s current fireworks provider, to celebrate Labor Day and produce a marvelous farewell to our summer season.”

The Fourth of July fireworks shows were the first for Image Engineering under a new contract inked last year and it was clearly disappointing for many. The problems occurred when certain fuses utilized to ignite the fireworks “shells” were mislabeled and ultimately misfired. As a result, a planned 18-minute show was reduced by about four minutes, including much of the finale. A total of 42 shells failed during the downtown show on the Fourth of July while nearly half that many failed at the uptown show at Northside Park.

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As a result, city officials worked closely with Image Engineering to determine a possible solution resulting in the plan for an enhanced Labor Day weekend display in conjunction with Sundaes in the Park. In addition, a popular Journey cover band Separate Ways will take the Northside Park stage at 7 p.m. to kick off the evening’s events that will include the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Scales and Tales program with kid-friendly exhibits and educational displays.

There will also be all of the other events and amenities associated with Sundaes in the Park including inflatables for kids, live music, food and beverage concessions and, of course, the panoramic views of the bay, providing the perfect backdrop for the summer season finale. Residents and visitors are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and beach chairs to enjoy the summer-ending festival

Separate Ways will start playing at 7 p.m. and will play right up until the enhanced and upgraded fireworks shows are set to go off around dusk. Meehan said the enhanced fireworks show on Labor Day Sunday will provide the perfect complement to the already popular Sundaes in the Park and should make up for the shortcomings of the Fourth of July shows.

“Sundaes in the Park has grown to one of the summer’s most celebrated events,” he said. “I can’t think of a better summer finale for families to enjoy live music, a bayside sunset and a patriotic fireworks show in Ocean City.”