MENASHA – City of Menasha officials say at the last minute, high winds forced them to push back the Fourth of July fireworks show to Saturday.
But the winds came back a day later and now the show has been canceled altogether.
The VanEpps family didn’t get to see the colorful fireworks display they were expecting on the fourth.
“They were shooting a couple of them off,” said Kiley VanEpps.
“The fireworks were supposed to start at 9:30 p.m. and it was already 10 p.m. and there were still no fireworks,” said Cassidy VanEpps.
Neenah-Menasha’s Assistant Fire Chief Vernon Green says after shooting a few test fires, the high winds caused a safety concern with falling hot embers.
“Consistently it was now above 12 miles an hour with wind gusts easily above the 16/17 mile an hour range so at that point we decided to cancel the shoot for the safety of the people and protection of the property in the area,” said Green.
That decision left some residents unhappy including those living in the apartment buildings across from the park.
“It was very upsetting. I have a 2 ½ year-old daughter who was very excited to see some fireworks,” said Bryce Cook.
“I think it should’ve happened,” said Ellie Reid.
Reid says when she walked over to the park people started telling her the show was canceled.
As word spread, Green says officials continued to inform the crowd.
“As soon as I made the decision to stop the show and not do the shoot, I notify all those staff members and then they make announcements. They go throughout the crowd and use the public address system at the swimming pool,” Green said.
“It’s like any other outdoor activity. You plan for it and you show up but if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, what can you do,” questioned Jeff Tourville.
Other residents wondered why the fireworks show went on in neighboring cities.
“People were saying Neenah’s fireworks are going off but Menasha’s weren’t,” Cook said.
Green has an answer for that.
“Neenah’s fireworks are shot off in Doty Park. Here in Jefferson Park you have a lot of more exposure to that south wind coming up the lake,” Green said.
Green says in the future the city might consider using a barge and shoot fireworks out over the lake to prevent cancellations.
Since Saturday’s fireworks display was canceled, Menasha’s City Council will have to decide what to do next.