Fireworks on the Fourth of July in Ocean City has evidently become tricky business.
Two years ago, after the pandemic canceled plans the year before, a vendor accident caused a daylight fireworks show with the uptown display also being canceled for safety. Last year, out of the blue the new vendor told Ocean City the week of the holiday contrary to its contract it would be unable to carry out the dual fireworks displays in Ocean City. Labor shortages were cited, as the 4th of July evidently snuck up on company representatives. The manpower excuse was clearly a tale.
During this week’s council meeting, it was learned changes within the fireworks industry has resulted in Ocean City being an undesirable contract for companies. The complexities generally fall with the dual shows firing at the same time with specific concerns about the Northside Park staging area.
Throughout the discussion this week, the consensus seemed to be fireworks on the 4th of July are a must. This conclusion is obvious but there does appear to be a possibility two fireworks shows on the different ends of the resort on the holiday could be problematic.
If it turns out a vendor cannot be found to fire two shows at one time, the city could use two different companies. The Request For Proposal (RFO) will seek one vendor for both displays as well individual companies to shoot each of the fireworks displays. There’s a chance the RFP process could result in a decision to separate the dates of the fireworks shows.
Though it goes against tradition in Ocean City, we think there is some merit to the concept of having the fireworks displays on different days. We think the downtown display on the beach should be held on the actual holiday. The Northside Park fireworks display could be held on a different day than the holiday. July 4 falls on a Tuesday in 2023. Perhaps Ocean City should hold a Northside Park display on the Saturday before the actual holiday or the day before. A display on July 5 should not be considered as it’s a travel day for most.
Staggering the shows could start a new tradition for Ocean City. If market conditions and vendor availability dictates a change must be made, we think holding one show ahead of the other could turn out to be beneficial for the city.
The consensus seems to be the details will get worked out once the proposals from vendors are reviewed, but Ocean City should never find itself in the position it has been the last three years — not offering fireworks on Independence Day. There is agreement on that focus.