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February 18. 2014 9:13PM

Jaffrey’s Festival of Fireworks will return, but at new venue

JAFFREY — The Festival of Fireworks will return after a two-year hiatus, but will be held at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey instead of its original home at the Silver Ranch Airport in Jaffrey, organizers said.

In the summer of 2012, days before the August event last summer, a bomb threat caused the organizers to cancel the long-held event.

Last April, organizers of the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks, the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, Atlas PyroVision Productions in Jaffrey and the Silver Ranch Airport announced the event was permanently canceled due to rising costs brought on by last summer’s bomb threat.

“Over the years, it started getting larger and larger and larger, and it was great, of course, until there was the bomb threat,” said Atlas vice president Matt Shea on Tuesday. “What it taught us was that the airport was a one time a year venue, and it really wasn’t equipped for an enormous fireworks festival that would bring in 30,000 to 35,000 people on one day to a town of 6,500 people.”However, announcing that the event was permanently canceled didn’t stop people from asking when the show would return, Shea said.“No matter where we would go, people would ask,” Shea said. “People really wanted to bring it back.”

About eight months ago, Cheshire Fairgrounds approached Atlas and suggested the event be held there, Shea said.

It will not be held in Jaffrey, but it will continue to be a fundraiser for the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, Shea said, and the show will remain in the Monadnock Region.

“It was the best solution,” Shea said. “It brings back that fundraiser to Jaffrey without it being in Jaffrey.”

Cyndy Burgess, co-chairman of the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce Festival Committee, said in an announcement, “We are proud to be part of the Festival of Fireworks that has been a popular family event with the largest firework display in New England, remaining right here in the Monadnock Region.”

Atlas, the Jaffrey Chamber and the airport had collaborated on holding the event for more than 20 years, Shea said.

“It was a small grassroots fireworks event for the community to raise money for the community, and for Atlas it was our testing ground,” Shea said.

Many firework techniques that went on to win Atlas championships originated at the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks, Shea said.

The Jaffrey Chamber members will continue to manage parking at the event; unfortunately there is no way to continue the airport’s involvement, Shea said.

The Cheshire Fairgrounds has the security features needed to run such a large event, Shea said. In addition, all tickets will be sold in advance, he said.

The show will be held on the third Saturday of August, which is Aug. 16 this year. The show this year has a classic rock theme, titled Rock’n the Stars.

Tickets will be available online starting May 1 at www.festival-of-fireworks.com.

mpierce@newstote.com


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