NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Crowds gathered for “Sparks on the Sound,” the show that almost did not happen, in New Rochelle on Wednesday evening.
“It’s a wonderful place to be, the kids enjoy the fireworks and get to go in the water,” said Alex Picard. “I hope it never gets cancelled – it would be a shame.”
The annual fireworks show was at risk of being cancelled this year due to city budget cuts and the city sent up a community events fund to help keep the festivities, such as the fireworks, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Memorial Day parade in May.
In mid-June, the status of the show was still questionable until the local non-profit organization S.E.L.F. Help Foundation agreed to donate to the event.
“In keeping with the traditional recognition of our nation’s independence, we are pleased to present our annual ‘July 4th - Spark the Sound Fireworks’ display this summer,” said parks and recreation Commissioner Bill Zimmermann in a press statement. “This event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, especially the S.E.L.F. Help Foundation.”
Numerous residents weren’t aware that the show was so close to being cancelled and instead said they would have shown up expecting to see the fireworks anyway.
“We would have been so disappointed" if the festivities had been canceled, said Maura Picard. “They do a beautiful show and the kids get to play in the park.”
Ethel Berzon, a life-long New Rochelle resident, would have been disappointed as well. She has been attending the fireworks shows since they were held at New Rochelle High School.
“I’m happy. Oh, yes I’m happy. They have many, many thousands of people show up for this,” she said. “It’s right out on the water and it’s safe. It’s beautiful, the colors.”
The spectators varied. For some, like the Picard family, this was part of their yearly tradition, for others, like it was their first time, but a few had returned this year after their first experience the year before.
“The fireworks were awesome last year. It was an amazing display of colors, the length of the show was perfect and it felt up-close and personal,” said Sandra Boyd. “I was weighing my options to go the Rye Playland, or watch the Macy’s fireworks on TV, but I wanted to come here. I would have been upset if it had been cancelled.”