For a while it appeared New Britain would not be celebrating the Fourth of July. But, thanks to various donations, the City held its biggest fireworks celebration ever Monday night at Stanley Quarter Park.
“We had the best weather and the largest crowd ever because not everyone else is doing it this year,” said Bill DeMaio, parks and recreation director. “We had $5,000 more than any other year and we spent $25,000 on fireworks. We had 36, 8-inch shells. We had hidden powder kegs in the baseball and soccer fields. Fireworks were both high and low.”
This gave the fireworks a three dimensional feel.
Latanya Farrell and the Bookman Styles Band performed throughout the Great American Boom which lasted from 5-9 p.m. and then fireworks began shortly afterwards.
“We ended up filled with food booths. We had to turn some vendors away,” said DeMaio. “Kids had the live animal zoo and pony rides. It was just perfect.”
People could also be found resting on blankets, playing volleyball, eating food and taking in the atmosphere of the park.
This year a professional sound company used high technology to set the fireworks to music. Pyro FX of Wallingford set off the fireworks.
“We had calls from New York, Massachusetts and all over New England from people wanting to see the fireworks,” said DeMaio. “The phones were going off the hook in the office.”
Three people were able to push the plunger to begin the fireworks celebration along with Mayor Timothy Stewart. For a $5 donation people took a chance on being able to press the plunger with money going toward next year’s celebration.
“People stepped up in a big way to make this one of the biggest events in the City if not the biggest,” Mayor Timothy Stewart told the crowd estimated between 35,000-50,000. “This is my last time here and I thank all of you for making it the biggest one ever.”
Money for the celebration was not put into this year’s budget. But, a $25,000 donation from the American Savings Foundation; $10,000 from a contest from Liberty Mutual Insurance and $5,000 each from Acme Monaco, Farmington Savings Bank and the New Britain Foundation for Public Giving, gave the City enough funds for the event.
One small glitch took place as the electronic trigger broke at the start of the show, but it was quickly replaced and those in attendance went wild.
Crowd reactions after the fireworks, was huge as well as most people commented that the 2011 fireworks were the best ever.
“By far, it was the largest fireworks crowd in our history,” said DeMaio. “Some officials are saying there were between 40,000 and 50,000 in attendance. It was a spectacular show.”