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April 22. 2014 10:48PM

Fish & Game Club planning ahead for fireworks event

LONDONDERRY — With last year's event drawing plenty of criticism from neighbors who said they weren't warned in advance of the noisy fireworks convention planned on the grounds of the Londonderry Fish & Game Club, club officials aren't taking any chances this year.

During Monday night's Town Council meeting, club president Richard Olson made a public announcement about the upcoming New Hampshire Pyrotechnic Association's Spring Fireworks Show.

Olson said this year's event, which is open to the public, will be held Saturday night. As part of the organization's annual meeting, various types of fireworks are critiqued, evaluated and examined, with the grand finale being an extensive (and loud) fireworks display at nightfall.Olson, who stressed that the Fish & Game Club is merely the host and isn't involved in the actual planning, said Saturday's event was expected to be much different than last year's.Last year's convention focused on Class B fireworks, which are larger, louder and require special permits and the presence of local firefighters. This year's convention, Olson noted, will focus on Class C fireworks: the same type that are typically sold at local fireworks stores.

"Either way, it ends up being a really nice fireworks display," Olson said. "But still, there's always someone who's taken by surprise, so this year we're doing things a bit differently."

Club officials noted that the facility is probably the safest place in the region for such an event, due to its remote location and existing safety features. Still, last year's show, held in late April, drew nearly 200 calls from residents over a two-hour time period, with many of them complaining about the noise or simply expressing concern over where the noise was coming from. Olson said the Fish & Game Club, located on the Litchfield town line, was spending about $1,000 on advertising the event this year, and was also turning to social media to spread the word in advance.

The event was posted on the club's Facebook page last weekend and the posting had over 100 shares as of Tuesday morning.

Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith said Fire Chief Darren O'Brien has been in contact with members of the Pyrotechnics Association, noting the town had been assured the fireworks wouldn't begin until shortly after dusk.

"We were told this wasn't an all-day affair and it would be all over by 10 p.m.," Smith said on Monday. "So we're expecting a Class C fireworks display: not the Boston Harbor display that occurred last year."

"Everyone I've talked to that saw the show last year told us it was the best fireworks they'd ever seen," Olson noted.

Those who weren't within viewing distance, however, had some much different thoughts on the matter, several town councilors noted.

"The ones who couldn't see the fireworks definitely heard them," Councilor John Farrell said. "And they called the police and the fire department."Councilor Joe Green suggested working with the Londonderry Police Department to post an announcement via Nixle, an emergency alert service that sends text messages to citizens' cell phones and emails. "That way people will know this is happening even if they've been living under a rock somewhere," Green joked. Olson said the public is welcome to stop by the club for the free fireworks show. The main gates at 5 Lund Street in Litchfield will be open at around 7 p.m.

AGuilmet@newstote.com


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