Wilmington Puts Fun on the Fourth on Hold

Setting off the traditional fireworks displays at Fun on the Fourth won't be possible this year due to construction of the new Wilmington High School.

Wilmington Selectmen. Photo Credit: Chris Gambon.
Wilmington Selectmen. Photo Credit: Chris Gambon.

At least in 2014, Wilmington residents won't turn out to the town common for six days at the beginning of July to take in family fun, food, music, games or fireworks. 

After discussions with Town Manager Jeffrey Hull concerning the feasibility of continuing the two nights of fireworks that has become tradition in Wilmington, the Fourth of July Committee voted last week to cancel all of the annual Fun on the Fourth festivities. 

At Monday's board of selectmen meeting, both Hull and Fourth of July Committee Chairman Scott Garrant weighed in on the decision to cancel Fun on the Fourth in 2014. 

Setting off the fireworks from the football field as has been done in past years could pose potential damage to the roof of the new Wilmington High School, as well as the artificial turf field and resurfaced track, according to Hull.

"Launching fireworks from the high school campus in 2014 presents significant risk to the artificial turf field, recently resurfaced track and possibly the high school roof," Hull said. "This location for 2014 is not a viable location."

Town leaders considered several alternative launch locations, according to Hull, including the high school baseball field, Glen Road fields, former Yentile Farm property and Silver Lake. 

"Each town property had limitations including lack of parking, lack of appropriate viewing area, potential environmental concerns or lack of compliance with state fire marshal requirements," Hull said.

With payments of more than $1 million made for the installation of the artificial turf field and resurfacing of the track at Wilmington High School and $1.6 million for the roof of the new high school, Hull said he did not think it wise to subject these surfaces to risk of damage.

"Given the town is investing so much into the new high school and have had in prior years instances where material has come down onto the field, onto the track and onto the current high school roof and created some amount of damage, it's my estimation that location should not be used this year," Hull said.

Garrant said the Fourth of July Committee did not make the decision to cancel the 2014 Fun on the Fourth hastily, and did so with heavy hearts.

"The celebration is dear to each of the current 14 members of the committee and to those who preceded us on the committee," Garrant said.

The inability to hold the fireworks at the town common, coupled with the denial of a special permit last year to hold the annual Fun on the Fourth carnival, led the committee to cancel next year's festivities. 

"We contemplated having an event at the common without the carnival and fireworks," Garrant said. "In our mind without those events, it's not a sustainable event."

In past years, funds made from the carnival would be put toward paying for the fireworks, according to Garrant. 

Hull said town leaders explored the possibility of holding the fireworks displays at the Aleppo Shriners property at 99 Fordham Road, but the Fourth of July committee was not interested.

"The Shriners is not the town common," Garrant said. "It doesn't have the same sense of community the town common does. There are also logistical issues like parking and seating. All of that presumes The Shriners would have the facility available and would be open to hosting the event."

Hull said he is already working with the Fourth of July Committee to explore site options for hosting the fireworks displays in 2015, including the Shriners and the town Wildwood Street property.

"Clearly this is an event that has come to symbolize what Wilmington is about in terms of the spirit and hospitality of the community, and certainly it's my goal to see if the event can continue if not in 2014 in 2015," Hull said.

Selectmen Chairman Michael McCoy said he regretted not having Fun on the Fourth festivities returning in 2014, but agreed with Hull that the investment Wilmington taxpayers have made in the new high school is not worth jeopardizing. 

"I have to agree we have a major investment in our new high school and football field," McCoy said. "I know some people are going to be very upset by it. I own a business in town and I hear all the time from people in town and in surrounding communities that they come to Wilmington for the Fourth of July."

Selectman Lou Cimaglia, also a member of the Fourth of July Committee, echoed Garrant's sentiment that the decision to cancel Fun on the Fourth was one made with much deliberation.

"The vote was taken after a lot of conversation, meetings and soul searching," Cimaglia said. "This is a very passionate town - a town that's very passionate about its patriotism. It's not a decision that was made lightly. We as a committee put a lot of thought into this."

Selectman Michael Newhouse said he was sorry to see Fun on the Fourth cancelled for 2014, but hoped more than a year would provide town leaders and the Fourth of July committee ample time to consider alternatives locations for fireworks in 2015.

"We need to look at alternative sites and I wouldn't presume to limit those alternatives," Newhouse said. "We all may get accustomed to a specific program but I think this town will celebrate the Fourth of July. This is a town that wears its patriotism on its sleeve." 

Stacie December 17, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Turkey Man your just a bitter person I know who you are and will ignore you moving forward. You DOLT
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Stillto much of a cowardkto say who you are turkeyman or should I say chicken man. No to Tewksbury? Why do you think you are to good for them? Say your name and man up.
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 02:20 PM
okay I will put that down as a no vote
Stacie December 17, 2013 at 02:22 PM
I have a feeling Turkey Man is a 4th of July Committee member
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Stacie: I'm done with him. Cowards do not interest me and they waste my time. If we ignore him maybe he will go away. He is not only a coward but snobbish and not deserving of my time and efforts.
Stacie December 17, 2013 at 02:32 PM
You are so right Wilmington Resident. Allot of residents are very proud of there town and just want to see it better. We all have opinions that is what life is all about
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Stacy you can only vote once. Karen I will put you down for a no vote as well. Thank you for taking part in this poll
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Karen I do remember the fog horn gentleman that you speak of. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for his brilliant posts. I do however admire his poultry pugilist style
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Wilmington resident. should I put Frank down as a No as well?
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Stacie: yes I agree I am proud to have my own opinion and although I do not have to agree with someone. We should respect their opinions. Just too bad we lost our community spirit. It did speak to Wilmington'sappeal. And that is not my opinikn. That was proof when we received 10k.
shawn shepard December 17, 2013 at 04:39 PM
You people are arguing like pathetic children, seriously… I’m in my second year of college and commuting back and forth to school from Wilmington. I’m 20 years old, so I’m used to people my age bickering like you people have over comments sections, bickering over things that you have no control over. However when people who I would assume are my parent’s age bicker over things that they have no control over it makes me wonder what type of world we live in. 1) You both are using fake name. So who cares about what your real names are? 2) If you guys really cared and I mean really, really, really cared about what happens then you would be doing something about it instead of bickering on a comments section that no one cares about. You both need to get over yourselves and I can’t believe I’m about to say this to adults who are supposed to be role models (one of which going by an alias known as turkey man) but, turkey man and Wilmington resident, get over it, move on and grow the hell up.
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Please watch you language. Stacie and I are having a discussion and we do a lot for the town. Like trying to figure a way to bave fun on the fourth and helo out the non profits and kids organizations even if we need to go else where. We welcome productive posts.
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 04:48 PM
okay Shawn you're right I'll put you in for a no vote. BTW What makes you think I'm your parents age just wondering.
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 04:50 PM
yeah you tell him Wilmington resident I like to helo the town nonprofits too
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Then instaed of making the comments yoh have been making. Help us come up with ideas the fourth briught a lot of ckmmunitg and funds to Wilmington youth griups. I would hate to see it go away if it can be helped. Seems too badiso few seem bothered by this.
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Sorry for the typos.but I think you get my drift (not snow drift...lol)
Bernie McNally December 17, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I, for one, feel that High School Building Committee should have told us how the Artificial turf would impact the Fun on the Fourth and that we should have been able to vote on the artificial turf separate from the High school. I would have opposed it! I'm never one to agree with the those who opposed the high school, but I feel that key facts were deliberately left out!
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 05:20 PM
uh okay I guess um we are friends now me and Stacey as well. I'm still not sure what I said to ruffle your feathers. So from now on we are all working together and not calling anybody names like you did this morning by calling out a former town manager by name. okay that's nice
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:23 PM
I agree with you but it is too late now. There must be a way do the fourth skmewhere. Has anyone asked tbe shriners? Or maybe over the lake. I kmow some yoens manage to set them off over water. Would it be aafe for the residents? Could use busses from the common. Maybe have games and dinners on the common with the band and other attractions like balloon maker or magician. Then we could have the non profits and youth groups fund raising.
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I dont know but could a screen be set ip in the common for a movie nite outside.
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Turkeyman: why do you think I removed it and started over. It was not productive.
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 05:41 PM
I will try again wait a minute man you may be onto something there has to be some tri corners in town we can use and not raise a stink
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Now that is cute. I liked that. But lets get some ideas going. If everyone could come up with something maybe we can keep the festivities going. Lets all work together. If not please don't waste time.
Frank West December 17, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Hey Turkeyman – got a Minute “man”? I’ve been reading the recent posts and see you have added about as much value to the conversation as what a real “turkey” leaves after a good meal in the farmhouse. Instead of being critical, be productive. Stacy and Karen have offered a few suggestions to help keep our community festive during the fourth – guess that’s a bad thing in your view. A lot of organizations give back to the community all year long with funds raised during 4th of July week. Bet you never raised your beak to help even though you state “I like to help the town nonprofits too”. It’s easy to be critical and sarcastic, my challenge to you is to go forth and take the lead on giving Wilmington a 4th to remember or go back to the Butterball factory you came from and….. well, you know the rest!
Turkey man December 17, 2013 at 07:42 PM
old boy Frank I've seem to have ruffled your feathers. What is it with you people and the negativity on this blog Read my post. I'm just trying to be nice like Shawn said.go west young man and be happy don't be miserable. maybe you could shoot the fireworks from your property on Main Street. Just wondering
Wilmington resident December 17, 2013 at 07:53 PM
TM. This is not productive.
Frank West December 17, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Hey Turkeyman, Chucking Chicken - Daniel - whatever the name of the day is - unlike you, I have no feathers to ruffle - Stacey and Karen offer suggestions that may seem viable - you offer firing fireworks from my office and we are negative. Hey, wait a "minute", have you offered your services to help ANY of the non-profits (several of which you are officiated with through your "friends")? Didn't see you behind the counter on any of the booths - maybe I was too busy behind at least two counters myself. I'm not going to go down your road because it obviously goes nowhere. If you want to continue this as a man - not a turkey, be a man rather than a turkey, give me a call and let's talk about how we can improve our town and end your poor attempts at humor. If you just a "turkeyman", I'll close on a positive note - Merry Christmas
Frank West December 18, 2013 at 06:35 AM
Hey Turkeyman - never got a call - guess you were all beak and no meat after all. Seriously, if you want to have real conversation about how the town non-profits can possible salvage something on 4th of July, give me a call - maybe there is something we can present to the 4th of July Committee - if you wish to continue as Turkeyman - guess it's back to having fun at the Butterball Farm. Have a great Christmas!
Turkey man December 18, 2013 at 08:09 AM
again with the name calling Frank. It's turkey man not chicken not Daniel I'm not sure what your point is I'll count that as a no vote Frank.thanks for participating in the poll
Dotty Emmons March 08, 2014 at 10:01 AM
What a shame. Such a big part of what makes Wilmington a great place to live. There has been all this talk about what to do with the land of Yentil's. Wouldn't this be a perfect place to hold the fireworks? Lots of room close proximity to parking. I'm sure the town's people would be more than happy to lend a hand to get the land ready for such an beloved event.


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