Annual July 4th fireworks in St. Joe moved up a day for safety
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. –
Independence Day is usually a busy time at beaches, but for Silver Beach in St Joseph, city officials are actually hoping to cut back on the crowds this year.
The city’s fireworks display has been pushed up a day to July 3, a break in a more than 25-year tradition.
“Our biggest concern is safety on the beaches,” said Steve Neubecker, the director of public safety for the city of St. Joseph.
And he says safety is the main reason behind the date change.
“We were starting to have some issues with the Fourth of July with crowd control issues, people coming in that we didn’t want. We want it to be a family oriented event,” said Neubecker. “We figured to make it family oriented, lets change the date and see if it affects it by having it the same time as Baroda and South Haven.”
Which for the families visiting, that’s a good thing.
“The Fourth is just a lot of crowds a lot of rowdiness. We just like it to be a more of a family oriented thing,” said Lucy Cheatham, who is visiting St. Joseph this week from Virginia to visit family.
But for businesses up the street, the change brings up some concerns.
“We’re hoping things still go okay because Baroda’s fireworks are the same day and we know a lot of locals go to that one versus the St Joe, so we hope that things will come in evenly flowing, but we are a little worried about that,” said Megan Miazga, the manager at Yo Bubbs Frozen Desserts near the beach.
Miazga says she hopes the move is temporary, and that the event will go back to the night of July 4th next year. Which Neubecker says is possible.
“Wait and see,” he said. “We might change the date back to the Fourth of July next year. We’re just trying something different to make the community safe and make sure this event continues to stay safe.”
The fireworks are scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Neubecker says they are still expecting big crowds and will have officers at every intersection to help with traffic flow.