Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

This year's Ithaca fireworks... now with more Dryden!

As I wrote for 14850today, this year's "Ithaca Community Fireworks" show is taking place in Dryden, on the TC3 campus. I suppose that's great for Dryden residents, who now get a big local fireworks show (though a good few hours of clogged traffic, to boot), but from where I sit, it seems like a good way to kill a tradition that goes back to 1947.

Independence Day FireworksUnfortunately, the original site at Cornell, and the "new" site they moved to about twenty years ago at Ithaca College, have both been rendered effectively unusable due to newer construction and the resulting density of occupied buildings. Less open space means less leeway, and fire departments and campus safety crews don't like less safety margin.

The show has mostly been funded by corporate sponsorships and individual donations, and as traffic has become more of a pain getting to (and especially from) IC for the show, more and more people have chosen to view the fireworks from their back yards, or from the lake shore, or from various parks and overlooks with a view of South Hill. That's meant sharply reduced donations, since most people who aren't confronted with the donation barrels at the event never get around to donating.

Moving the show out to Dryden will probably have the unfortunate (if not necessarily unintended) effect of killing the attendance. Most Ithacans are far less likely to drive the 20 or so minutes out to an unfamiliar campus. TCAT's pair of free buses from downtown Ithaca could help, but it's not being well publicized -- and, frankly, could fill up fast and leave lots of people stranded. I'm betting they're not prepared to add a third (or fourth, or fifth...) bus if they get a crowd lined up. Never mind the risk that people who take the bus will get stranded in Dryden because they don't make it back to the bus as fast as the drivers would like, in the crowds after the show.

Hasn't the Ithaca Festival done lakeside fireworks shows? Is there a good reason the community fireworks show couldn't be shot at, or from, one of the parks along Cayuga Lake? Lots of wide-open space down there...

( Free buses to Dryden for the Ithaca fireworks... )

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