Fireworks Canceled for Heritage Festival
Dry conditions force organizers to call off Kent's annual fireworks show
Editor's note: organizers have announced there will be no reschedule date. Click here for that story.
The Kent Heritage Festival will be a little less bright this Saturday.
Organizers for the event have canceled the annual fireworks show, which caps off a day long fair-style event in downtown Kent.
"We were really reluctant, but the fire marshal issued a statewide warning Friday," Lynn said.
The state fire marshal's extreme fire warning indicated that extremely dry ground cover that has persisted for days due to the heat and lack of rain creates an unsafe condition for fireworks displays.
Lynn said the fire marshal recommended doubling the size of the fall-out area for the fireworks and doubling the size of the fire crews on duty to respond in case remnants from the fireworks were to start a grass or brush fire.
He said the fireworks would have to be launched from the Kramer Ball Fields to double the size of the fall-out area, but the bridge to the fields remains closed and thus the fields are impossible to access. Starting last year, the fireworks have been launched from the former RB&W site on Mogadore Road.
The department can't afford to double the personnel on duty in case of a fire, Lynn said.
Lori Wemhoff, executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival, said they don't know yet if the fireworks will be rescheduled.
Wemhoff said a meeting of the Kent United Services Organizations, which all chip in to pull off the annual festival, is set for tonight and will address whether or not the fireworks show can be rescheduled.
"We’re very disappointed that the fireworks had to be canceled," she said. "But I more than understand it’s a safety issue."
The full cancellation notice is attached to this article.
Lynn said the fireworks display may be rescheduled to later this summer.
"Hopefully if we get some rain we can rescind the cancelation order, but it’s got to be an appreciable amount," Lynn said.
American Fireworks in Hudson puts on the annual show in Kent, which costs $8,000. The KACC had already paid a $2,000 deposit on the show, and Wemhoff said she has to review the contract to determine if they will lose that deposit or not. But she added that even if they do lose the deposit that doesn't necessarily mean they can't afford to reschedule the show later this summer.
"It’s not like we canceled it or they canceled it. It was kind of canceled for us," Wemhoff said. "We’re going to go over all the if's, ands or what's to determine what it’s going to cost us."
Kent is not alone in its cancellation of the fireworks show due to dry weather. Other Ohio communities have had to cancel fireworks displays.
Here's a list of other possible fireworks shows in Northeast Ohio.
Wemhoff said there are plenty of other reasons to visit the festival, which is set for Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight.
"Safety has to be our number one priority," she said.