It’s a tradition in Lake George, New York to end long summer days with fireworks. Every Thursday night and on the Fourth of July, the Village of Lake George puts on a show that keeps visitors coming into town long after sunset. But, as WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, those shows can get expensive…
Lake George village expands from a population of just a few thousand in the winter to a region hosting upwards of 50,000 by summer.
And Mayor Bob Blais says it is becoming more and more difficult to justify spending so much money on fireworks to village taxpayers in the seasonal community.
“The average taxpayer, the guy, the husband and wife that lives on the backstreet, that’s perhaps retired, not in business anymore, has somewhat of an argument when he said he doesn’t like to see us shoot $70,000 up in the air.”
The village is facing some big expenditures. A costly project to replace the village’s wastewater treatment plant is around the corner. Improvements are also needed at a village-owned amphitheater and visitor center.
Adding the 11 or 12 fireworks shows every summer, Mayor Blais makes the point that the village needs to find ways to save money in the years ahead. As for 2018, the show will go on.
“They’re a very, very popular thing for a resort community to have. And the burden is on the village entirely to do the shows and we’re looking for some partners,” said Blais. “We’re looking for some partnerships with businesses and individuals and others that might be interested in defraying some of the cost of those shows.”
The village has approached the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce to seek partners who might be willing to sponsor a fireworks show during the summer of 2019.
Chamber Executive Director Gina Mintzer said the shows have become quite popular over the years. They not only light up the sky, but because they happen on Thursdays, they give visitors a reason to start the weekend a night early.
“We tend to see more people coming up earlier and extending their stay in the village and the environment all around the region of Lake George,” said Mintzer.
In other words, advocates say they’re worth keeping around.
With the average price for a fireworks show hovering around $7,000, Mintzer thinks it may work well to get two sponsors per show. The sponsors could then have their names displayed prominently on signage or handouts.
Mintzer thinks the program could be popular with businesses or organizations that operate in the region and may not otherwise have a presence in downtown Lake George Village.
“If you’re the general pub/eatery that’s right there on Canada Street you say, ‘Look, I’m going to get that traffic no matter what.’ So it’s really an opportunity to build your brand, from if you’re a car dealership to a bank or some sort of institution where you’ll have access to all of these people that are here.”
And if the idea catches on, the weekly fireworks will remain a summertime tradition in Lake George.