Same-day Palm Coast, Flagler Beach fireworks displays 'unworkable,' Flagler Beach officials say

Palm Coast has proposed shifting its July 3 fireworks celebration to July 4, which would make it conflict with Flagler Beach's event.

Fireworks over the Flagler Beach pier. Photo by Paige Wilson
Fireworks over the Flagler Beach pier. Photo by Paige Wilson
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This past Tuesday, Jan. 11, Palm Coast City Council members proposed moving the city's Independence Day fireworks event, traditionally held on July 3, to July 4. 

That would mean that Palm Coast's fireworks event and the city of Flagler Beach's fireworks event would be held on the same night. Flagler Beach officials don't think that's feasible.

"It's just not something that could be done."


— SCOTT SPRADLEY, chairman, Ad Hoc Fourth of July Findings Commitee

"It's just not something that could be done," Scott Spradley, a local attorney and the head of Flagler Beach's Ad Hoc Fourth of July Findings Committee, told Flagler Beach city commissioners at a commission meeting on Jan. 13. 

"In my opinion, insufficient staffing, signage and other resources make a simultaneous fireworks display with the city of Palm Coast unworkable, unsafe and unsound," he said. 

Spradley said he'd also received a call from a senior city of Palm Coast staff member asking if Flagler Beach might be willing to shift its fireworks event to July 3 so that Palm Coast could have July 4. 

He said he'd replied that while that wasn't his decision to make, he believed the answer would be "an unequivocal 'no' or an unequivocal 'h--- no,'" he said. 

People come to the beach on July 4 expecting fireworks, Spradley said; trying to hold the event a day early just wouldn't work.

Two events held at the same time also wouldn't necessarily split the crowd in a way that would make it easy to divide the manpower needed to keep attendees safe. 

"I'm sorry, that's not how it works," he said. "What are you going to tell the officer at the intersection — only half of you has to be here now, because it's only half? I mean, it doesn't work that way." 

Spradley, after hearing about Palm Coast's proposal, wrote a letter to Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, opposing the change. 

Flagler Beach City Commissioner Jane Mealy called the letter "spot-on."

Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston said she hoped that Palm Coast would consider the safety of law enforcement personnel when making their decision.  

"I just want to emphasize the importance of making sure that we have the safety of those officers … determining the city of Palm Coast’s outcome as well," she said. 

Spradley hadn't come to the Jan. 13 the commission to discuss Palm Coast's proposal: He was there to talk about the committee's suggestions for what Flagler Beach could do to have a successful July 4 celebration after the city last year considered not holding a fireworks show.

But the community seems to support a fireworks display, he said, and the committee believes the city can hold one safely.

He reiterated suggestions he'd made at a previous City Commission meeting about the topic — that the city consider implementing a fee-based shuttle system for attendees, encourage the Rotary Club to keep the parade on the short side, look into securing around 700 extra parking spaces at the Babcock Home Furniture, First Baptist Church and Boston Whaler properties, and increase law enforcement staffing for the event while holding a public awareness campaign to prevent underage drinking.

"I think the view of the committee is that so long as these suggestions and recommendations are implemented so that we have a safe evening, then fireworks will be appropriate," he said.


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