Bursting in airPublished 5:34pm Sunday, July 1, 2012
Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and its business members present their 27th consecutive July 3 fireworks display at dusk Tuesday at the Apple Festival grounds at the corner of 17th and Lake streets in northeast Niles.
Niles is fortunate to have an enduring aerial patriotic show as many communities are eliminating fireworks due to economic considerations or, this summer, drought.
Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore announced its July 4 display at Rice Field was canceled rather than endanger Community Schools property and surrounding neighborhoods because of dry conditions.
Temperatures on the 236th U.S. Independence Day are expected to be blazing away between 90 and 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The Chamber took over Niles’ fireworks from the Jaycees.
President Ron Sather since 1998 has been contacting as many as 166 businesses to keep the $10,000 show free to the public.
In the past few tough economic years, Sather’s challenge hasn’t gotten easier, but he encourages contributors to try to match previous donations.
The City of Niles gave $2,200.
Police estimate 6,000 people watch the show, which has only gotten more local with Illinois and Indiana professional pyrotehnics succeeded by F&F All Seasons Inc. on U.S. 12.
Vendors sell soft drinks, hot dogs and carnival fare such as cotton candy and elephant ears, with some traveling 400 miles round-trip.
Fire Chief Larry Lamb is comfortable with Niles’ fence-protected fireworks staging area at the 15-acre site because it’s a green oasis compared to some withered locations. His department handled a grass fire Thursday caused by a discarded cigarette.
At city-owned Jerry Tyler Airport, income-producing crops such as corn grow by runways. Niles and Howard townships will be standing by with grass rigs and lightweight hose.