Why doesn’t Londonderry host a July 4 fireworks show?By RYAN LESSARD
Union Leader Correspondent July 02. 2018 9:39PM
LONDONDERRY — The town of Londonderry is home to four fireworks companies, yet it does not host any July 4 celebrations.
“We are one of the fireworks capitals in New Hampshire,” said Kathy Wagner, the chairman of the Londonderry Old Home Days organizing committee.
Atlas Fireworks, Phantom Fireworks, TNT Fireworks and Alamo Fireworks all have locations in town. Atlas PryoVision Entertainment Group, part of the Atlas brand, puts on professional fireworks displays throughout the state.
Town Manager Kevin Smith says Londonderry has never hosted its own July 4 fireworks show because its fireworks budget has always been prioritized for the Old Home Days celebration.
The town takes its Old Home Days celebration very seriously, Wagner said. She said it’s been held on the same day in August for 118 years. This year is the 119th year. And Wagner said Londonderry is one of only three to five communities that never changed the historic date of their old home day.
“From what I understand, we’ve never missed a year,” Smith said.
This year’s Old Home Days celebration is a five day event between Aug. 15 and Aug. 19.
Smith said they talked about doing an Independence Day fireworks show but he said it would either mean not having fireworks at Old Home Days or finding a sponsor.
Smith said the town advertises what fireworks shows there are in neighboring towns.
“Most people go over to the Derry fireworks, and to tell you the truth the town is pretty empty on July 4,” Wagner said.
But when it comes to fireworks at Old Home Days, which is Friday, Aug. 17 at 8:45 p.m. after a concert performance by Manchuka, the budget for the show has been going up in recent years.
Wagner said this year’s budget will be around $12-15,000, which is the largest dollar amount ever spent on the show. Partly, that’s because the town has allocated about $10,000 in the past couple years, but last year’s show was rained out, so there was some money left over.
The town started picking up the tab, and the fire department has organized it in the past five years, Wagner said.
In the past, the town would give about $10,000 to the overall budget for Old Home Days, but that went down to about $5,000 in recent years. That allocation has crept back to about $8,000 now, Wagner said. That’s in addition to taking on the fireworks cost, which was about $7,000 before last year.
The total budget for this year’s event will be more than $30,000, Wagner said. The organizing committee fundraises whatever the town doesn’t pay for.
While no sponsors for Independence Day fireworks have been found so far, Smith said he can envision fireworks at Woodmont Commons when the first phase of that development is built.