Plans for Niles’ Fourth of July celebration fizzle

NILES — Fireworks celebrations for the Fourth of July at the Apple Festival grounds have fizzled out.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, the Fourth of July fireworks celebration was given the go-ahead by the council, in a five to three vote. The vote was contingent on several unspecified conditions being met before the event could occur.

The fireworks sponsor, Niles Music and More, quickly coordinated with the city to begin the planning process. This would have been the first year for the group to organize the fireworks celebration. The Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce stepped back from the event in 2019, after 33 years.

Despite the effort, the event has been canceled. In a release from the city, officials said one of the challenges the organizers and city faced was Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s limit of 250 attendees gathering for outdoor events.

A release from Niles City Administrator Ric Huff stated that there were indications that restrictions may have been altered prior to the Fourth of July. However, there was difficulty in securing commitments from vendors, knowing that they might be called upon or canceled at the last minute pending current orders.

Organizing representative for the event Caryn Adler said while organizing efforts had begun in the winter for the fireworks the city council was not able to consider approving the event until Monday due to COVID-19 mandates.

“That gave us only three and a half weeks to pull of the event,” Adler said.

After the vote on Monday evening, Adler began speaking to the Niles Music and More board and the city. As she was ready to organize the event, she began fundraising efforts immediately after being given the go-ahead by the council. The event would have taken a minimum of $13,000 in funds raised to execute.

Historically, the Fourth of July fireworks hosted at the Apple Festival grounds draw more than 4,000 people to the Niles area. With fewer surrounding communities hosting similar celebrations, the city and organizers were worried the crowd would exceed past numbers.

“We know that would have created a huge demand on our police department, in terms of traffic and safety,” Adler said.

In the end, Adler said the decision came down to not being able to put on the fireworks celebration safely.

“We sincerely regret the loss of the Fourth of July fireworks celebration for this year,” Huff wrote in a released statement. “We are exploring the possibility of a community celebration for later in the year.”

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