CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Before they watched this year's fireworks display from the Cedar Grove Recreation Department, attendees at Panther Park and other viewers around town were treated to a spectacular show from Mother Nature.
Around 7:30 p.m., a storm front quickly swept across the sky, bringing torrential downpours and bright streaks of lightning for more than an hour. Once the wild weather subsided, several members of the crowd in attendance made their way back out onto the field, though most preferred to stay by their vehicles.
As Cedar Grove Recreation Department Director Marisa Landolfi explained, the initial plan was a July 2 drive-in only fireworks show. But as plans changed at the state level, so did the town's plans.
"We were originally going to go on July 2nd," Landolfi said. "And since COIVD was here, we were going to make everyone stay in their car. So we were still going to have the fireworks anyway. But when Governor Murphy bumped the capacity up to 500 for today, we moved it to today, and we have the field marked out a little bit more than six feet apart from each other.
"We're only letting 500 people on to the premises, but there are other parking lots in town that people can go to. Everyone's been having everything taken away from them, so we just figured we'd put on a nice show here for them."
One of those residents in attendance was Izzy Cruz, who was there with his family. Cruz noted that the small sense of normalcy he felt from the fireworks display in the midst of the pandemic was welcome.
"I think it's fantastic," Cruz said. "I mean school's been shut down I guess since mid-March, and it's great to get out. I have my kids out, hopefully they see their friends. And i hope a lot more people come out. [...] It's a great town, and I can't wait to see the fireworks show."
As the night progressed, the fireworks commenced in a brilliant display, much to the joy of those in attendance at the field. Following the fireworks, Landolfi expressed her joy at being able to get the display in, and thanked the various first responders and volunteers who made it happen, as well as the attendees who braved the weather delay.
"I am extremely happy that we got this in today," Landolfi said. "I just want to thank the police and the fire, the Atlantic rescue squad, my rec staff. i couldn't have done it without any of them, and thank you to everybody that came out, to wait out the rain with us."