Friday, July 3, 2015

They're not doing fireworks in my little town, and I'm OK with it

For all of my 45+ years, I have called the suburb of Wickliffe, Ohio, home.

Wickliffe is a place of traditions. Like many cities, there are certain things we do every year, and in some ways our calendars revolve around those things.

One has always been the annual Fourth of July celebration at Coulby Park, traditionally capped off by a brilliant fireworks display at dusk.

The fireworks at Coulby are what my family does every year on Fourth of July. Or at least they're what we used to do, because this year city council decided not to have fireworks. Instead, we're combining with two other communities to hold a fireworks display at a local baseball stadium.

And let me say that I totally support this decision. For one thing, our city has a $1.5 million budget deficit, and it turns out fireworks (and the attendant overtime pay for police security) are expensive.

Also, if I'm being perfectly honest, I'll tell you that our Fourth of July celebration is no longer the Wickliffe-only thing it once was. A number of local cities have cancelled their fireworks displays in recent years, and their residents started coming to Wickliffe in large numbers. (I don't blame them...our fireworks have always been pretty good.)

The reason I know that people have been coming in from other cities is because Wickliffe is mostly white and the new people at our Fourth of July celebrations mostly aren't. That sounds like overt racism, but believe me when I say that's really not the case. I think most of us just wanted to keep it an event by and for Wickliffe residents, and the large infusion of outsiders (white, brown, black, yellow, whatever) has been frustrating.

So now we have to make other plans, and I'll admit to being a little sad about that. Things change, I know. Life goes on. But we made a lot of memories on those July 4th evenings at Coulby Park, and now I'm not sure we'll ever have the chance to do it again.

But you do what you have to do, and as I said, I support council's decision. Most of those council members are lifelong Wickliffe residents, and I'm sure it was painful for them to make what was undoubtedly the soundest fiscal choice.

It's just that there are certain things in life you assume will last forever. And when they don't, you mourn a little.

C'est la vie, my friends, c'est la vie. If nothing else, I reserve the right to be a little sad over it.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in Wickliffe and I emember fondly the fireworks at Coulby Park and Homedays. It's sad to see that both traditions are now gone.