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Clayton cancels July 4th event due to recession

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

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CLAYTON, N.C. — 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.

“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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Brian Shrader, Reporter
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