Fireworks company will be back in 2013 Public outcry has calmed since July 4

By on July 11, 2012

By: STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff, Staff Writer

The Lititz Springs Park Board has decided to stick with its current fireworks company despite the July 4 technical problems that created public uproar.

"The park board has complete confidence in their ability to put on a real good show, and they have been invited back for next year," said park board president Ron Reedy in regard to Celebration Fireworks. He said the park board will go into more detail regarding last week’s problems at a later date.

The park board met with fireworks officials Tuesday night. In the end, they were satisfied with the explanation regarding the problems. Reedy said all the shells that did not ignite this year will be added to next year’s show. Regarding the question of why an announcement of the technical problems was not made during the show, Reedy said the fireworks crew was scrambling to try to fix things and during the confusion did not make the announcement. He said the company has been very apologetic to the park board and the entire community, and has vowed to make it up to Lititz at next year’s show.

"Was it disappointing?" Reedy asked in regard to the technical problems. "Yes, but these things happen."

Those who watched the fireworks were less forgiving … at first.

"We received a deluge of calls," Reedy said. "It got nasty."

The park website was flooded with negative comments. The Record Express’ Facebook page became a sounding board for those who felt wronged by the mishap. And debate was waged through the Lancaster Online message board.

"Please tell me there was some type of problem with the Lititz fireworks last night," wrote Ray Shaver in an e-mail to the Record Express. "How are they going to get anyone to show up next year? That was absolutely terrible."

The onslaught put the park board in damage control mode. They quickly released a statement pointing out that technical difficulties were the problem, and as the clarification spread the public anger calmed.

"Hi. After the e-mail I sent, I did find online discussions about all the problems and saw the feedback from a whole bunch of people," Shaver wrote in a follow-up. "I’m not from Lititz, but always go to an uncle’s Fourth of July party in Lititz every year. Our cousins go to those fireworks a lot and said they are good. We were up the road in the lawn of a church. There were a lot of people there, all of which seemed to be disappointed and left early. I hope it goes better next year."

Reedy said more positive communication has been the case in recent days, adding that the overall event and tribute to veterans was deemed a success.

"We were there not only for the fireworks, but also for the day," he said. "We were honoring those who fought in America’s wars."

He felt one particular e-mail from a park patron put things in proper perspective:

"I would first like to thank you for an amazing day! I am an active duty Air Force member of 15 years. My boyfriend (who is also active duty Air Force) and I drove up from Knoxville, TN to Manheim to visit my grandmother and my aunt Tuesday evening for the fourth of July celebration. We arrived at the park at 1 p.m. and loved the shows, candle lighting, and then we were amazed by the firework display… I am saddened by the ugly comments you have received. We thought maybe something might have gone wrong for the grand finale, but the rest made up for it. We truly believe people missed the point of the entire day!" More FIREWORKS, page A3

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