Stowe’s Fourth of July fireworks show was canceled and then put back on schedule. Now, changes are being considered to dissuade large groups from assembling.
Fireworks will be shot from the Mayo Farm fields after dark on Independence Day, but town officials recommend that no event parking or public restrooms be available.
Without room for hundreds of cars, there won’t be space for large numbers of prospective spectators from all over the area.
As of now, Stowe is the only town in the area holding the annual fireworks show.
To make sure people can see the show, Northstar Fireworks will use high-yield, high-altitude rockets that will be visible from farther away than usual.
On Friday morning, Town Manager Charles Safford met with Fire Chief Kyle Walker, Police Chief Don Hull, EMS Chief Scott Brinkman and Recreation Director Matt Frazee to discuss how to handle the Independence Day show. The original plan was to have police and volunteers manage parking and crowd control, making sure safety guidelines were followed. The group decided that wasn’t good enough; there was no way to know how many people would show up for the event and the risk to public health could become too high.
“For lack of a better word, it was recommended that we have a non-event event, that we do not invite the public into our public fields,” Safford said.
The Stowe Fourth of July celebration usually draws more than 2,000 people to daylong activities that lead up to the fireworks. And, with other local fireworks shows canceled, there’s no telling how big the crowd might be, Safford said.
“We are actively discouraging people coming from outside of this community to these fireworks,” he said. So, spaces that would usually handle overflow parking won’t be available, and the 32-acre Mayo Farm field won’t host the drive-in style show that was proposed last week.
The select board could choose to change the plan when it meets on Monday. However, Safford said the board will usually defer to the town staff on specifics involving events and public safety.
“This is Stowe; we love everybody,” Safford said. “We love that people want to come visit Stowe and we get it that they don't have fireworks in their hometown this year. But we need to be careful that we're not overrun. In this community, we are not prepared to handle it.”