Board cancels fireworks due to crowd concerns

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

The Williston Selectboard on Tuesday reversed course and decided against the town holding a July Fourth fireworks show.

The board had already cancelled its July Fourth parade out of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, but two weeks ago had decided to still host a fireworks show. The display was to be launched from the Taft Corners area, instead of the traditional Allen Brook School location, to allow for more parking and viewing from cars. 

But town staff reported to the board Tuesday that logistical concerns had cropped up in planning meetings, and recommended against holding the show. 

Assistant Town Manager Erik Wells said Williston’s would have been the only July Fourth fireworks event in northwestern Vermont, potentially attracting crowds that the town is not comfortable managing or policing. 

“We felt we could end up having more than 20,000 people,” Wells said. 

Another hitch is that, because of the location’s proximity to Burlington International Airport, the town would need to request Federal Aviation Administration approval. The board has tentatively rescheduled the show for Labor Day weekend.