Smithfield saves with fireworks on the 5th

Posted July 5, 2010 4:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2010 10:51 p.m. EDT

— By celebrating America's birthday a day late Monday, the Town of Smithfield saved some green to go along with the red, white and blue.

When local business leaders started planning for a Fourth of July celebration, they found legal and financial reasons to wait one day before setting off their fireworks.

A new state law, instituted after the deaths of four people preparing for a fireworks display in 2009, requires anyone using pyrotechnics for a public show to complete a training course and receive an operator's license.

Licensed operators were charging about $15,000 for a display on the Fourth, said Chris Johnson, of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation.

"(It was) a scramble to try and find someone," he said.

So they settled for the next best thing, booking the show for Monday night -- at about half the cost.

"The way you see it, you are extending the party, at a cheaper price," he said.

The savings made sense to those who enjoyed an evening of musical entertainment capped by the fireworks display at the Neuse River Amphitheatre.

"I think it is still good because we should celebrate every day," said Albert Dixon, who attended Monday's celebration dressed as Mr. America.

Organizers say more people were able to attend because the show was not competing with other, bigger displays.

The savings will also allow the group to sponsor other events later in the year.

Meanwhile, a scheduling mix-up forced the cancellation of fireworks in the Nash County town of Castalia.

The town had moved the event to Saturday night to accommodate staffing for law enforcement, but the fireworks were slated to come on Sunday, officials said.

The town went ahead with a parade and entertainment, and the money that was spent on the fireworks will be applied toward next year's fireworks display, officials said.