The Show Will Go On

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The August 21 fireworks display will go on as planned after some last-minute changes in the site where the fireworks will be launched. That follows Thursday’s announcement that logistics problems forced cancellation of Saturday’s Belpre homecoming fireworks.

They're beautiful, they're spectacular and they're an elaborate effort that for biggest of displays involves the efforts of professionals. New Castle, Pennsylvania Specialist Chris Mehl oversees the fireworks display for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.

Mehl says a recent series of accidents involving various displays nationwide, similar to last year's aborted Parkersburg homecoming display, have led to a major increase in insurance costs.

Mehl says that in the past three years those costs have risen 45 percent. Since just last summer, they've gone up 25 percent.

Whether it’s Parkersburg, Marietta or Belpre, fireworks displays are a big draw. In fact, they usually pull in the biggest crowds to weekend festivals each year, and they can mean increased business for concessionaires.

One concessions operator at the Belpre homecoming was surprised to hear us tell him this year's fireworks show had been cancelled.

"Any thoughts as to how much business you might lose?" Casper Wynn was asked.

"Without the fireworks, 40 percent, maybe," he says.

But while it might hurt some operators, it might help others.

"When the fireworks took place, we died down," said a ride operator. "So, if there's no fireworks, we'll be picking up."

Parkersburg homecoming president George Kellenberger says the launching site for next weekend's fireworks has been moved to Fort Boreman Hill.

The Wood County Commission has to approve the Fort Boreman Site, however. That approval is expected Monday.