Fireworks slated for July 3Published 6:33pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013
What a difference a year makes.
Last Independence Day, drought and blazing temperatures canceled fireworks in some communities, such as Elkhart.
Tuesday morning dawned a wet 58 degrees — unheard of for July.
But with weather forecasts indicating less of a chance for precipitation and temperatures moderating to a high of 80 for America’s 237th birthday, Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and its business members present their 28th consecutive July 3 fireworks display at dusk at the Apple Festival grounds at the corner of 17th and Lake streets in northeast Niles. There is no rain date.
The Chamber took over Niles’ fireworks from the Jaycees.
“It’s usually scorching,” the Chamber’s Kelly Rock said, the weather forecast eliciting a hearty “Yes!” from her, since it should be comfortable for 40 volunteers from such mainstay civic organizations as Niles Noon Optimist Club and Berrien County Civitan Club, who help collect at-will contributions to defray the cost of the free $10,000 show.
Their efforts usually generate a couple thousand dollars to go with $2,200 contributed by the City of Niles.
Just-retired president Ron Sather had been involved with fireworks fundraising since 1998, Rock for five years.
“It’s a lot of work for a half-hour show,” she said Tuesday, but an important display not only of aerial artistry by F&F All Seasons Inc. on U.S. 12 between Niles and Edwardsburg, but also patriotic pride and community spirit.
An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 usually turn out, though that number slid on the smaller side last year with the weather challenges.
Rock expects more manageable temperatures to translate into a surge in attendance.
While this year will be “business as usual” with Sather’s successor, Tyanna Weller, acclimating to Niles, Rock said next year the new leadership will be ready to “spice up” the traditional event with some new features — perhaps music, more local vendors and entertainment attractions, such as a bounce house.
Vendors sell soft drinks, hot dogs and carnival fare, such as cotton candy and elephant ears.