For the last seven years, the Town of Norwood has helped produce the fireworks show that happens on New Year’s Eve, a celebration that many in town have come to appreciate.
The Dec. 31 show began during a drought year. At that time, the show was planned for the Fourth of July holiday, only the conditions were too dangerous to celebrate.
Moving the show to the New Year’s Eve holiday seemed like a good idea, and many businesses and individuals have helped support the show ever since with donations of various amounts.
Each year, the town welcomes financial support to help finance the cost of the show. It typically costs around $7,000 to produce it, and the Town of Norwood budgets for a portion of that annually.
In the last year, though, the donations have waned, making it more challenging to pay for the fireworks and the associated costs. Now town officials are wondering if the show can continue in future years because of what it takes to make it all happen.
“This is something that I think is pretty special, coming from a metropolitan area, we don’t have anything like this on New Year’s Eve, the city or the suburbs,” Fire Chief John Bockrath said. “To come here and have fireworks on New Year’s Eve is pretty special. It’s not that expensive when you consider the quality of the show that is being put on. I’d hate to see us lose this.”
Bockrath said this is the third year he’s helped produce the show, and the compliments he’s received on behalf of the fire department are tremendous.
He said if people could find a way to donate a few dollars, it could help ensure the show continues.
“A $5 (donation) from everybody would really help,” he added.
This year, the Norwood Fire Department gave $500 to support the fireworks. Bockrath said it would like to do more for next year, too.
Besides donating, the department works for days to produce the show. Members begin at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, checking every single firework that will be ignited. Bockrath said the show also requires prepping the firework tubes and placing them in certain spots before loading them.
Safety becomes the priority to make sure the show poses no threat to people or the environment.
The next day, members clean up the mess on Ralph Weaver’s property, which includes collecting every piece of fallen paper and shrapnel.
“It takes hours and we put in a lot of time and effort,” Bockrath said. “But we don’t mind at all.”
Anyone who would still like to contribute to this year’s fireworks show that is scheduled for next Tuesday, Dec. 31, may contact town clerk Gretchen Wells at Town Hall.
The town maintains a bank account, dedicated solely to the fireworks fund. Contributions of any amount can be deposited into it.
Wells said town officials will have a meeting in January to determine the status of future fireworks shows and if they can still happen.