For over 20 years, the 4th of July fireworks have captivated thousands of Cherry Hill residents, both young and old. That won’t be the case this year however, after township officials decided to cancel the holiday tradition because of safety concerns.
“This decision was not made lightly, and in fact, nobody is more disappointed about this change than me and the members of Township Council,” Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn said. “However, this move has enabled us to reallocate the resources previously dedicated to our fireworks display and direct them toward exciting new programming that will benefit the community all summer long.”
Officials say the field at Cherry High School West can no longer hold the large crowd and no other venue in the area can safely house the event.
“We are disappointed,” said Bridget Palmer, the Director of Communications for Cherry Hill. “But at the end of the day we are all in an agreement that we have a responsibility if your top public safety official is saying this isn’t something you should do.”
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Despite the reasoning, the decision isn’t sitting well with many residents.
“Why don’t they take it to a bigger place?” asked Kristie Tyler of Cherry Hill. “In all of Cherry Hill there’s not a bigger venue?”
Residents in neighboring communities who attended the event in the past are also disappointed.
“I have a 7-year-old son who looks forward to stuff like that every year,” said Mark Giberson of Moorestown.
Jack Patel, who manages a local 7-11, says he relies on the 4th of July event to bring in good business.
“The Fourth of July is different,” Patel said. “We have a lot of customers come in that day, especially for the fireworks. We are gonna get hurt that day. It’s going to affect business.”
Cherry Hill officials say the money used for the sponsored event will now be dedicated to other community events during the summer.
“Cherry Hill Township hosts many free and low-cost entertainment options throughout the year, giving every resident a chance to relax and have fun against the backdrop of some of Cherry Hill’s most beautiful locations,” Mayor Cahn said. “I am particularly proud to announce the new activities on tap this season, which have come together to form what I believe is one of our strongest and most wide-ranging summer lineups ever.”