Countdown to Fireworks -- Hourly Booms from 2:00 p.m.


Contributed by Maureen Forrest

Booming sounds Wednesday afternoon (July 2) from South Hill will be the all-clear signal for the 56th annual Ithaca Community Fireworks Show. Beginning at 2 p.m., an aerial salute that can be heard for miles around will be fired every hour on the hour by fireworks technicians as a reminder that the show is a "go."

Fran Benedict, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual fireworks show, said American Fireworks Manufacturing Co. of Utica and Ithaca plans an aerial display that will begin about 9:45 p.m. This year's show will include a special salute to Cornell University and Ithaca College for supporting and hosting the fireworks shows since 1947.

Hot dogs, candy, and beverages will be available on campus at a concession stand operated by Ithaca College's dining service.

There will be several attractions on campus this year. The schedule of festivities on Wednesday night follows:

The fireworks show is scheduled to begin between 9:45 and 10 p.m., following the national anthem sung by the popular a cappella group "Sons of Pitches."

If weather conditions Wednesday night are not favorable, area radio and television stations will carry an announcement of the rain date, which is the following day -- Thursday, July 3. If the fireworks show is postponed, most pre-fireworks activities will be moved to Thursday night.

"Once again, Ithaca College has opened its campus parking lots, fields, and facilities for the annual fireworks show, which will be visible from various points surrounding Ithaca," Benedict said. "We appreciate the support and logistics provided by IC, along with the efforts of the many volunteers who make this annual event possible."

Spectators should plan to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion, which hits its peak at about 7:30 p.m. "Better yet," Benedict said, "take a free TCAT bus from downtown to Ithaca College."

Shuttle buses will depart from the East Green Street shelter near the Tompkins County Public Library beginning at 6:30 p.m. They will return after the fireworks show until 11:30 p.m.

Motorists are reminded that there is no parking on state and county highways, especially on routes 13 and 96-B. Police and public-safety officials will help direct traffic, and firefighters from the Ithaca Fire Department will be on standby near the fireworks.

Members of On-Site Volunteers will be on South Hill to seek donations from the public. Only these clearly identified volunteers are authorized to collect donations the night of the fireworks show, according to Benedict.

"Just $2 from each person who watches the show - whether it's from South Hill or surrounding hillsides, parks, and backyards-would help guarantee a fireworks show next year," Benedict said. Individual, group, and business donations can be sent to the attention of Benedict at the Ithaca Commons office of Tompkins Trust Company.

Media partners helping to promote the 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 Dave Maley