Fireworks light up Fairfield skies tonight
Updated 9:24 am, Friday, July 3, 2015
The town’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which traditionally lights up the shoreline skies on the holiday itself, will be staged a day earlier this year.
Officials hope that by changing the fireworks to Friday, July 3, as well as limiting the number of day parking passes that will be sold, will allow more town residents to find a spot on the beach to view the pyrotechnics display.
“We found that we were the only town in the immediate area that had the show on the 4th and our crowds were getting larger each and every year,” town Recreation Director Gerald Lombardo said.
But last year, when rain forced the fireworks to be rescheduled to July 5, along with many other towns in the area, Lombardo said, “we found the crowd and traffic to much more controllable.”
First Selectman Michael Tetreau said a debriefing session is held each year after the fireworks, and those sessions have led to changes each year to traffic patterns and crowd management for the event.
Fireworks parking restrictions
No parking will be allowed after 5 p.m. July 3 on the following streets for the town’s annual Independence Day fireworks display:
One Rod Highway
South Benson Road
Fairfield Beach Road, designated segments
“While July 4th is our traditional date, it was felt that July 3rd might provide some advantages in terms of traffic control and crowd management.” Tetreau said. “We will evaluate how this year’s event turns out and certainly consider any feedback we get from residents.”
He said public safety is the top priority in planning the event.
This year, the town also will have two rain dates available for rescheduling the fireworks if necessary — July 4 and July 5. The fireworks are launched from a barge in front of Jennings and Penfield beaches. Lalie Madriguera will provide music at Jennings Beach from 5 to 7 p.m..
The large crowds in attendance in 2013 prompted an increase last year in the cost of day parking passes on weekends and holidays to $50 at the beaches.
For the 2013 fireworks, 816 day passes were sold at Jennings Beach, compared to 483 in 2012. At the time, Lombardo told the Parks and Recreation Commission that parking was a “nightmare” and cars were lined up at 6:30 a.m. to get into the beach.
This year, the number of day passes will be limited to 300 at Jennings, 50 at South Benson Marina and 100 at Penfield Beach. Once that threshold is reached, officials said, cars without season permits will not be allowed into the parking areas.
No parking will be allowed after 5 p.m. July 3 on designated streets in the beach area, and streets leading from the beaches will be one-way to the Post Road once the fireworks start, which is expected to be about 9:15 p.m. No vehicles will be allowed to travel south to the beaches until traffic leaving the fireworks show has cleared.
In addition, only emergency vehicles will be allowed on Rowland Road and Edward Street.
At the end of the fireworks, vehicles will not be allowed to turn onto Old Post or Oldfield roads; all traffic will have to proceed to the Post Road.
Motorists on Reef Road will have to turn left onto the Post Road, while those using South Benson Road have the choice of turning right onto the Post Road or continuing straight onto North Benson Road.
Those leaving the beach via Beach Road, will not be allowed to turn in either direction on the Post Road and will have to cross the Post Road.
Town officials remind everyone that no fireworks of any kind, including sparklers, are allowed on the beaches or in the parking lots. There is also no alcohol or private grills permitted at the beach.