A Huge Crowd Gathers for Montgomery Township's Fourth of July Fireworks — After a 2-year Hiatus
By Oliver Huang | July 1, 2022
With COVID-transmissions in the medium range, and a high vaccination rate in Montgomery Township, a crowd of 6,000 to 8,000 cheerfully flocked to the high school on Thursday night to celebrate the holiday, enjoy fireworks, and, to joyously bask in the company of friends and neighbors.
Oohs and aahs could be heard from the crowd along with the loud bangs and booms of the exploding fireworks. (Photo by Rachel Dentler).
The event began at 6 pm and included plenty of things to do. Vendors sold ice cream, kettle corn, veggie sliders with melted cheese, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and fries. Many danced to local band, Black Tie Groove, as celebratory vibes and favorite songs filled the air. People sang along to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," the B-52's "Love Shack," and "Rocky & Roll" by Led Zepplin, to name a few.
Kids played games of chance, and families visited booths sponsored by local businesses, political parties, and non-profit organizations, including the Montgomery and Rocky Hill first responders.
“It’s a nice community event, just getting out and doing something with the kids,” said Laura Cervino, a Montgomery mom.
For Jane Kim and her husband, Chung Lee, the fireworks were a great way to get into the community with their kid. “I think now that we have a baby we just wanted to get out and kinda just experience being part of the community says,” said Kim.
Photos by Oliver Huang and Rachel Dentler.
In addition to providing safety and ambulances at the fireworks, Montgomery EMS squad members also set up a booth to fundraise and attract new volunteers. “We sell pizza, it's kind of a tradition of the squad, and of course we try to fundraise. We try to spread the word about what we do and the fact that we do it for free,” added Ron Gershal.
The Montgomery fire department also set up a booth. “Because we’re a volunteer organization, we always need to try to bring people in, so the more things we can do in the public. The more the public sees us in a non-emergency view. This is a lot like a PR event, more so than a fundraiser. We do need to raise funds, but we also always try to get ourselves out there,” said Justin Kabis, president of the Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company #2.
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The fireworks are entirely funded by donations. “Really count on the generosity of the community,” said Fireworks Fundraising Chairperson Stephen Shueh.
Pulling off the fireworks required a lot of planning, especially for an event that was estimated to have 6,000 to 8,000 participants pre-pandemic. “I start all the way back in December,” said Karen Zimmerman, the director of Montgomery Recreation Department. Planning the fireworks requires contacting and coordinating with numerous parties, including the police, the fire department, and EMS, explained Zimmerman.
Since COVID, the price of running fireworks have exploded, increasing the need for fundraising. “This year, the cost of [the fireworks] has risen significantly,” notes Karen Zimmerman. The cost of shipping the fireworks has gone up an extra $1500. The price of porta-potties has also gone up by 300 percent.
Despite the arduous planning, it was all worth it. “There’s nothing like just sitting there and just watching [the fireworks] and listening to the crowd and the children,” said Zimmerman. “I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this, we have one of the best shows in the area,” she added.
This fireworks was also particularly special for Zimmerman because it was her last time coordinating the fireworks event before she retired. For her, a lifelong Montgomery resident, she had been going to the fireworks for years, and she had been coordinating the fireworks for the last 25 years. “I was in grade school when I remember coming to the fireworks with my family,” noted Zimmerman.