NUTLEY, NJ - A little thunder in the afternoon did not spoil the Wednesday, July Fourth evening in Nutley. Residents gathered in the Oval and on Franklin Avenue to view the township's fireworks show.
People lined up to purchase zeppoles, sausage and peppers, empanadas, cotton candy, Mister Softee ice cream cones and lemonade, some of the many food truck favorites stationed along Franklin Avenue.
Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli provided face painting for the children for free. Rob Frannicola’s Ultimate Entertainment had both adults and children dancing until the main event. Children participated in games including potato sack races, water balloon catch and a dance off winning red, white and blue beads, beach balls and American flag blow up bats as prizes.
Safety was obvious throughout the area. The Nutley Police Department was stationed around the perimeters and throughout the crowd. The Nutley Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad had ambulances ready in the event something happened and Nutley Fire Department also had fire trucks on stand-by.
Although this year some “fireworks” are now legalized, the big ones are not. Nutley Fire Chief Philip Nicolette said he didn’t recall any accidents happen during the township fireworks in many years. “Fireworks in general, someone always gets hurt. It fails to ignite and there are fire injuries. The fire department is ready to do what they are trained to do if there is a problem,” he said.
NVERS President Henry Meola said, “We are well prepared for anything and everything.”
Soon as the sun set Mayor Scarpelli, Commissioners Thomas J. Evans and Mauro G. Tucci walked onto the Oval. Scarpelli welcomed the crowd and thanked the commissioners, their departments, and the police and fire departments. “It takes a team to put this together to have a great night,” he said.
Nutleyite Cecelia Mielnicki, who will be a junior at Nutley High School in September, sang “God Bless America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Commissioner Tucci started the countdown. The crowd was silent as the first firework went off into the air.
Songs including James Brown’s “Living in America,” Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” played while the fireworks went off one by one. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” topped off the Fourth of July finale.