Don't be a Fireworks Thief, and Other July 4th Thoughts


One of Maplewood’s biggest days is coming up soon, July 4th, which this town has celebrated better than any Garden State community for years.

From the circus to the baking contest to the fireworks, our red, white and blue birthday remains a top attraction. Although prices have increased slightly, from $15 to $18 for all access and from $10 to $12 for fireworks only, it’s still a great deal.

Still, there are always hundreds who show up and sit outside the fencing to literally steal a look. Are you among those firework scofflaws? If so, stop it!

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As I have pointed out in the past, the fireworks, which cost about $16,000, are subsidized mostly by ticket sales. Overall, the day runs some $32,000 for the circus, insurance, and other costs. Little tax money or township funds are spent on these sparkling attractions, except for some police and fire overtime.

And if you are enjoying the view without ponying up the cash, you are stealing as much as if you grabbed a cotton candy without paying or snuck into the circus.

Worse yet, if people do not pay their share and the event becomes a money-loser, it will be cancelled.

Don’t think it can’t happen. South Orange dropped their fireworks a few years ago and many other towns have followed suit.

It seems easy enough to stay outside of the temporary fencing that is already encircling Memorial Park and take up a spot on the Town Hall front lawn or elsewhere. But it’s not that difficult to put up the $12 for a rare local sky show.

And those of you with children, do you really want to explain to them why that can’t sit closer and inside the fence?

And why on this holiday? On a day when we celebrate independence and, in essence responsibility, for ourselves, self-governing and freedom, do you want to do it by avoiding your fair share of the cost?

I spoke to Tom Pascuite, the Maplewood July 4th Committee chair, who pointed out the discount being offered this year in which you can buy two tickets and get a third free. That is available through the end of Friday.

“We wanted to give families a chance for a discount,” he said.

He also mentioned a new service, free golf cart shuttles from one end of the park to the other for those with disabilities and older residents. And volunteers are still needed for all areas.

And while non-ticket revenue is on the rise from sponsorships that includes corporate and local organizations, as well as food court fees for vendors, the ticket fees still play the largest role.

Our community has a great image of diversity, fairness, safety, and creativity. We also know how to celebrate in a big way, whether its Halloween, Memorial Day, Pride Week, or Independence Day. So keep that image positive by doing what’s right, and paying the price.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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