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April 15. 2013 10:52PM

Jaffrey ends fireworks festival due to security costs, concerns

JAFFREY - Organizers of the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks said Monday that the annual celebration that draws thousands to town won't happen anymore due to rising costs brought on by a bomb threat that caused organizers to cancel the event last summer.

Hours after the announcement in Jaffrey, an explosion rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

"As a person who ran that many years ago I am absolutely horrified. I can't even imagine what it is like. . That's supposed to be a fun event," said Cyndy Burgess, co-chair of the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks. "As I think about what happened there and think about soft targets, the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks was a soft target."

Event organizers, the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, Atlas PyroVision Productions and the Silver Ranch Airport, made the announcement in a post on Facebook. "With Deep Sadness...the era of the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks has officially come to an end," the post said and encouraged people to leave their memories of the event as a comment. "The reason for canceling it was that the increased cost for security meant we would have to raise our admission prices substantially," Burgess said. "If they have to pay too much to get in then we're already made it not possible for people, who have come for many years, to come in."

Admission was kept low because local non-profits used the event as a fundraiser, so attendees were encouraged to spend money on food and items from these non-profit vendors inside the event.

"I think it's just time to end it," Burgess said. "The Chamber will work hard to replace that as a fundraiser."

Burgess said organizers along with Jaffrey police and fire have been working on creating a safe event since the festival was canceled days before last year's event due to a bomb threat.

For the past two decades about 30,000 people were drawn to the Silver Ranch Airport in Jaffrey for the annual August event.

"We are very fortune, very fortunate, we never had a major catastrophe," Burgess said.

Burgess said she and the other organizers feel they have made the right decision. Part of making the decision was changing their mindset from one of questioning whether they were giving into a bomb threat, to putting the community first, Burgess said.

"Many people will feel that way," that they are giving into the threat, Burgess said. "I think last year we were more angry about it than this year. We really stopped thinking about it as we were giving into the threat and let the security of the people who attend become our main focus. . We're all walking away with wonderful memories, positive memories and that's the way it should be, to walk away with positive memories, not to have what happened in Boston."

mpierce@newstote.com


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