BERRYVILLE — A shortage of pyrotechnicians is prompting Clarke County’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display to be held a day earlier.
The Bank of Clarke County, which sponsors the event, will hold the fireworks show on July 3 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds. The sky will sparkle beginning at dusk. Admission is free.
Pyrotechnicians are professionals trained to handle, launch and store fireworks safely.
Under a longstanding contract with the bank, Zambelli Internationale has put on Clarke County’s fireworks shows for about 30 years.
Senior Vice President and Marketing Director John Hudson said the bank recently learned that Zambelli lost some of its pyrotechnicians earlier this year and, as a result, would not be able to handle Clarke County’s display on July 4.
Because of state licensing processes, it will be after the holiday before the company can employ new fireworks professionals, he said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.
“It was either change the date of this community fireworks show to another night for 2019 or do without a show (put on by Zambelli) this year,” Hudson said.
The bank contacted several other fireworks companies but found out that they were fully booked for July 4 up to a year in advance, he said.
“We couldn’t imagine letting this holiday pass without our annual show,” he said.
After expressing disappointment to Zambelli, the company redistributed its remaining pyrotechnicians among shows elsewhere and determined it could have one in Clarke County on July 3, Hudson said.
That was “the only date they gave us to consider,” he said. So the bank accepted it.
“Our intention is to return the show to the fourth in 2020,” Hudson said.
In conjunction with the fireworks, the Clarke County Community Band will perform at approximately 8:15 p.m. in the fairgrounds’ grandstand.
Hudson said the annual event is a collaborative effort. Along with the bank and the band, participants include the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Clarke County Ruritan Club, Clarke County Board of Supervisors, Clarke County Parks and Recreation Department and the John H. Enders Fire Company.