Athens cancels Independence Day fireworks show

Athens cancels Independence Day fireworks show

Posted:
"It's just going to be really sad that it's not going on," said Kathy Feit, the desk clerk at Super 8 Motel. "It's just going to be really sad that it's not going on," said Kathy Feit, the desk clerk at Super 8 Motel.
The 30 minute fireworks show is held in the park on "fire cracker hill" and can be seen from all over the city. The 30 minute fireworks show is held in the park on "fire cracker hill" and can be seen from all over the city.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

ATHENS (WATE) - This year the Fourth of July celebrations in the city of Athens will be a little duller. A lack of funding means one of the largest fireworks shows in East Tennessee will be canceled this summer.

For 15 years the city has put on the $19,000 show through private funds, most recently by Comcast.

"Unfortunately this year we were unable to put the sponsorship package together at the same level at which we would like to shoot fireworks so we're unable to fill this hillside with fireworks," said Austin Fesmire, Parks and Recreation director for the city of Athens.

Fesmire says they have 10 days to come up with a new sponsor or the show won't go on.

"Unless someone came forward in the next week or so we wouldn't be unable to get the necessary permits," he explained.

Last year the show was postponed to Labor Day weekend because of a fire.

The 30 minute fireworks show is held in the park on "fire cracker hill" and can be seen from all over the city.

"The restaurants are full, it's a big day, a big day," said Julie Shell, the manager of Shoney's restaurant which sees double the businesses on the holiday thanks to the fireworks show.

The show brings in 15,000 people from all over the area.

"Every parking spot, side of the road is full of cars, every body coming to see the fireworks display," Shell said.

The hotels say without the show this year, business will probably drop by 50 percent on the holiday weekend.

"It's just going to be really sad that it's not going on," said Kathy Feit, the desk clerk at Super 8 Motel.

For many of the residents the fireworks show has become a tradition.

"It's a big disappointment, there are a lot of families, a lot of young kids that aren't going to get to experience that," said Kathy York, an Athens resident.

But many hope someone will come forward and save the show.

"There is money in Athens and if they wanted to keep everything here on the Fourth of July they would come up with some help," Feit said.

Fesmire said they considered putting on a smaller show but decided in the end that would be more of a disservice because people are accustomed to a larger show and might be disappointed. They would rather hold off and come back next year, bigger than ever.

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