Newly Renovated Riverfront Park To Host Fourth Of July Celebration
Fireworks will again explode this year on July 4th over the Connecticut River in Springfield, Massachusetts.
After moving last year to a temporary venue, the program “Star Spangled Springfield” will be back at its traditional location—downtown along the banks of the Connecticut River.
"We are so happy to be back where we belong, right here on Riverfront Park," said Judy Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield.
She predicted a larger-than-usual audience this year with people curious to see the new Riverfront Park. It was closed last July 4th while undergoing a $3 million renovation.
"This city has done a superb job of renovating this," said Matt. "I think it is going to be one of our major tourist attractions."
Last year, the festivities were held at Blunt Park. The event went off without a hitch despite planners’ initial concerns about traffic and parking.
Still, Matt said Riverfront Park is a superior venue, with the fireworks launched from the Memorial Bridge over the Connecticut River.
" Because of the height people can see (the fireworks) from farther away," said Matt.
Springfield Police are also happy to see the annual fireworks show return to Riverfront Park, according to acting Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
"I can gaurantee a safe event on the Fourth of July," said Clapprood. " We expect a large crowd and we are ready for a large crowd. We have a game plan for the river front and we are happy to be back at the river front."
Organizers emphasize that no alcoholic beverages are allowed in the park at any time. Also banned from the fireworks event are skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, and pets. No civilian-operated drones will be allowed in and around the park.
" What I would ask of the public and visitors on that night is to please listen to the officers," said Clapprood. "We have some obsticles including train tracks with trains running and traffic, so to keep everybody safe we need people to listen to the officers' ( directions)."
The splash pad will be running in the newly renovated park and there will be food vendors. Music and other activities start at 6 p.m. There is a speaking program at 7 p.m. and a flyover of jets from the Barnes Air National Guard Base.
" Come early, bring a picnic lunch," suggested Matt. "We are going to have face-painting for the kids, baloon making, lots of fun things."
Matt said the fireworks will begin promptly at 9:30 p.m.
To allow for the fireworks to be set up, the Memorial Bridge was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic this morning.
Additionally, at 7:30 p.m. on July 4th some downtown streets will be closed to traffic. State Police will close Exit 7 off Interstate 91.
The Memorial Bridge is expected to reopen by 11 p.m. on July 4th.