Spectators at the 57th annual Ithaca Community Fireworks Show on Thursday, July 1, are reminded to park safely and sanely. In particular, parking on state and county highways and road shoulders is not permitted, especially on Route 96B near Ithaca College and along Route 13.
New York State and City of Ithaca police, Tompkins County Sheriff's deputies, and other public safety officials will patrol these and other areas, said Fran Benedict, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the fireworks show. The aerial display, shot from atop Ithaca College's South Hill campus, begins at about 9:45 p.m.
"Spectators who park along a highway before the fireworks show might think it's a safe area, but after the show it's very dark and walking along the shoulder or crossing highways at that time creates an unsafe situation," Benedict said. He added, "It's not only unsafe, it's illegal."
An alternative to using personal cars is available, Benedict explained. The local public-transit operator -- TCAT -- is offering free bus service from downtown Ithaca to the Ithaca College campus. Shuttle buses will leave from the shelter near the Tompkins County Public Library on East Green Street every 10 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Following the fireworks, buses will be given priority routing, which should help ease traffic congestion, Benedict added. For more information about the TCAT "fireworks express," call 277-RIDE (7433) or go to www.tcatbus.com.
Benedict also reminds spectators about donations for the fireworks show.
"The show belongs to the community, but we can't guarantee future shows without donations," he said. "Two dollars from each person who watches the show -- whether it's from South Hill or surrounding hillsides, parks, and backyards -- would cover the cost of this year's show and build a reserve for future shows."
Ithaca College has opened its campus parking lots, fields, and facilities for the annual fireworks show. Members of the Ithaca Sertoma Club, On-Site Volunteers, and employees of Tompkins Trust Company will be on the Ithaca College campus to collect donations from the public.
"These volunteers will have special outfits and ID cards that identify them. No other groups or individuals are authorized to collect donations on behalf of the fireworks committee -- on the campus or elsewhere in the community," Benedict stressed.
Rain date for the Ithaca Community Fireworks Show is Friday, July 2.
Media partners helping to promote this year's fireworks show are Eagle Broadcasting, the Ithaca Journal, and Time-Warner Cable. Additional support is provided by Tompkins Trust Company, Cornell University, Ithaca College, TCAT, On-Site Volunteers, and the Ithaca Sertoma Club.
Contributed by David Maley