Bang for your buck
For 16 years, Jim Campion has helped organize Woodstock’s Independence Day fireworks display at Emricson Park as a member of the Woodstock Fourth of July committee. But Campion’s service represents fewer than half the pyrotechnic displays the city has seen over the decades.
“For over 40 years, Woodstock has been putting on a fireworks show,” said Campion.
The seven-member fireworks committee began preparing for the annual show in April and started asking for donations, which fund the event, in May.
The free fireworks show will begin around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, but there will be a $5 parking charge.
“[The parking charge] goes toward the fireworks,” said Campion. “It costs between $12,000 and $14,000 to put on our fireworks show.”
The more money donated, the longer and more extravagant the fireworks display will be.
Campion said previous shows have brought in between 3,000 and 5,000 people, and he suggested getting there early.
“By nine o’clock the parking lot fills up,” he said.
“Our fireworks are always a wonderful show. The location [on the sledding hill] is a wonderful place to just sit and watch. Sometimes there will be 2,500 people on the hill. Everybody that goes is always in a good mood, enjoying the atmosphere and a nice community event.”
An event, he continued, that would not be possible without the Woodstock police and fire departments as well as the community.
“We wouldn’t be able to come out and do this without the tremendous support and contributions of the police and fire departments and local businesses,” he said. “[They] put in a lot of man hours.”
What else can Woodstock expect for the Fourth of July this year?
The regularly scheduled Woodstock City Band Concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on the Square, concluding with a pyrotechnic display coordinating with “Stars and Stripes Forever.” State Rep. Jack Franks will be on the Square to host a free ice cream social.
Woodstock Opera House Managing Director John Scharres said the duration of the event will allow attendees plenty of time to walk or drive out to the Emricson Park fireworks display.
“It will be a great time,” said Scharres.
Vendors also will be on site, selling glow sticks and snacks such as kettle corn.
Parking in Emricson Park will be accessible via the South Street entrance. People walking to the park can enter from South or West Jackson streets.
Donations for the fireworks display are still being accepted.
“Anyone who wants to volunteer or donate can [do so] at the gate,” said Campion.
Donations can also be dropped off at The Woodstock Independent, 671 E. Calhoun St.
For information, call Campion at 815-459-8440.