Peachtree City’s postponed July 4th fireworks extravaganza has been officially rescheduled for the Friday of Labor Day weekend: Aug. 30.
Although Councilman George Dienhart advocated strongly for the city to reschedule the parade as well, the rest of council agreed with City Manager Jim Pennington that it wasn’t a good idea.
Rain and a forecast of dangerous storms washed out the entire July 4 extravaganza this year. At Thursday night’s regular meeting, the city council at first considered having the fireworks on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31).
Pennington said one reason staff decided on the Friday date was to allow the city employees to enjoy a weekend with their families. Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark said that since so many people are expected to leave town for vacation that weekend, some might stay Friday night to see the fireworks. That would not be possible on a Saturday, Clark noted.
Pennington said the fireworks could be scheduled any evening over the Labor Day weekend, and city staff struggled with what would be the best date. Part of the reasoning was that Monday many residents won’t want to keep their kids up late due to having school the next day, for example.
Another reason for not having the fireworks on Sunday is that it would allow police officers and firefighters the ability to enjoy the weekend with their families, especially in light of several other special events in coming weeks that will require their extra help on weekends, Pennington said.
Rescheduling the fireworks will only cost the city $3,750 per their contract for the event, as opposed to the possibility of losing the $28,000 the city is obligated to pay if the display was just cancelled instead.
The city is not able to take its payment this year and “add it” toward next year’s show, Pennington confirmed.
In advocating for a reboot of the parade, Dienhart said not rescheduling the parade was “not real fair” to residents who took the time to decorate floats and buy candy to hand out along the route.
Mayor Don Haddix asked the sparse audience for any comments on the parade matter, and resident Terry Ernst suggested that residents would not be willing to go to all the trouble of redecorating floats they had planned to use July 4.
Pennington noted that the parade takes about 720 personnel hours to accomplish including all 44 sworn police officers on duty at one time, and while city employees understand they are required to work on July 4th, one employee remarked to him that in 25 years he had never had the 4th of July off until this year.
Pennington said staff could make the parade happen, but the decision needed to be immediate. Dienhart was the only council member interested in reinstating the parade, so those floats will have to wait until next year.
Pennington said staff was refunding the entry fees for the 147 groups that had signed up for the parade “as much as we can.”
Councilwoman Kim Learnard credited city Public Information Officer Betsy Tyler for keeping the public informed about the situation with press releases and emailed updates of the city’s decision to cancel the July 4 events due to the inclement weather.