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Clayton cancels July 4th event due to recession

Posted April 27, 2010
Updated April 28, 2010

— Citing the recession, officials in Clayton announced this week the cancellation of the town’s Fourth of July celebration this year.

The community normally celebrates with a large Independence Day party complete with fireworks in Municipal Park.

“We're very proud of it, and we regret having to make the decision in these times to discontinue it this year,” Town manager Steve Biggs said Tuesday.

Biggs said revenues are down more this year than expected, and expenses such as energy, insurance and employee retirement contributions are rising.

Clayton cancels July 4th celebration Clayton cancels July 4th celebration

“What we're seeing is our revenues are flat. They've been flat for the last three years,” he said.

The town scaled back its spending the past two years and is doing the same this year with the cancellation of the Independence Day event.

“When we look at special events, some can be very expensive and have a very short duration, and July 4th is a good example of that,” Biggs said.

The one-day celebration costs the town more than $30,000, about $20,000 for fireworks alone.

Resident Ronald Roy lives across from Municipal Park. He said he understands the town’s decision to cancel this year’s celebration.

“That’ll save somebody’s job, an employee’s job,” Roy said.

Biggs said the celebration should be back next year if the economy improves as expected.

Clayton isn’t the only community canceling its Fourth of July celebrations this year. Kenly's event was canceled, in part due to new state regulations on fireworks, officials said.

The regulations are in response to a fireworks explosion in Ocracoke Island last year that killed four people. Investigators say electric igniters were being pushed into fireworks on the truck causing the explosion.

New regulations improve the safety standards for handling and transporting pyrotechnics.

Fourth of July celebrations go on in other locations

The two-day celebration in Wake Forest will go on as planned, officials said Tuesday. A fireworks display will be held July 3 at Heritage High School. On July 5, children’s activities are planned.

The event is not funded by the town. It relies on private donors and charges $5 at the gate. Children 6 and under are admitted fee.

Rocky Mount officials said the city's celebration on July 3 will also go on as planned. Officials said it costs $22,000 to run the event each year. The city budgets $15,000 for the celebration and gets the rest from sponsorships and vendor fees.


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  • Supie Apr 28, 2010

    Fourth of July celebrations breed patriots who will die for their country. The brass band music culminating in fireworks displays catch the heart and kids leave waving flags. Just saying, this is a function that is part of a long and deep history.

  • spoonman Apr 28, 2010

    good... my taxes shouldn't have to pay for this junk

  • Lily Apr 28, 2010

    Pretty sorry in my opinion!!
    Well....that's the straw that broke the camel's back! I guess you'll have to move.

  • McLovin Apr 28, 2010

    How much longer are people going to use the phrase "these times". According to Wall Street(yes I know they are a bunch of liars)the recession was over months ago...where or whom did Clayton cough their money up to that results in them cancelling a fireworks celebration

  • swinter Apr 28, 2010

    Yeah, lets defund some of the social programs to pay for things -like corporate welfare. GE has not paid any taxes since 1960. If they paid their back taxes, the deficit would be gone.

  • itsnotmeiswear Apr 28, 2010

    My brother-in-law has a neighborhood pig picking and "illegal" fireworks show every year on the 4th. Several of us help him with the cost. The county sheriff, some policemen, and a couple of SBI agents are always there. At dusk, the local volunteer fire department shows up. They sit by their truck on side of the road in their folding chairs with the other 150 or so cars that come just for the show. One special part is that after the show everyone joins to sing the National Anthem. Great time for all.

  • Yankee Apr 28, 2010

    result of hope and change

  • indrdw Apr 28, 2010

    interesting the take on people needing help. I don't think people are being callous just tired of having worked to get what they have and maybe just getting by and looking on at the people who live off the system. In times like these you should thank God for being able to keep on after losing your job but a lot of hard working people just get by and when they lose a job it is devastating. This is not poor planning - a lot of people work hard but they make just don't make a lot of money. Nothing wrong with that unless you think someone working as a janitor is supposed to get paid as much as someone with a more skilled job. Makes a janitor no less of a person but they just don't have a lot of extra money to be putting in a 401K.
    These are not the same people who live off the system. There is a difference in helping people and people being blood suckers so to speak.
    I would and have give a helping hand more than once and if the government would let us keep some of what it takes f

  • shortcake53 Apr 28, 2010

    I see lots of fire calls on the 4th, due to people making their own show with fireworks bought just south of us. They should ban lighters and matches that day too....

  • Nobody but Carolina Apr 28, 2010

    Great suggestion by garnercanesfan. Hit the Mudcats game on July 3rd and catch a ballgame with fireworks afterwards.