Independence Day Fourth of July VS Fireworks

Indonesia, July 3, 2011

This year, see fireworks on July 2 and 4

But Chicago used to sparkle on July 3, too

Fourth of July fireworks explode over Lake Michigan in 2003–on July 3. (Scott Strazzante, Tribune photo / July 2, 2011)

By Dahleen Glanton, Tribune reporterJuly 2, 2011
Ever wonder why Chicago traditionally held its big Fourth of July fireworks display a day early? The answer is simple. Back when the city started its Independence Day fireworks show 35 years ago, the 4th was already taken.The American Legion veteran’s organization had begun holding July Fourth fireworks on the lakefront during the Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933. It became an annual attraction in the city, so popular that two years later it was moved from the lakefront to Soldier Field.

When the city decided to hold its own Independence Day fireworks in commemoration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, the American Legion, in the spirit of cooperation, suspended its event that year, according to the city of Chicago‘s cultural historian, Tim Samuelson.

But a year later, the American Legion wanted the slot back. So the city decided to give residents an extra day of celebration by moving its annual fireworks display up a day. That also allowed city workers to have the holiday off.

“It became a tradition in itself that the Fourth of July in Chicago is on the 3rd,” Samuelson said.

That often bewildered out-of-towners — and Chicagoans.

“Many times people from other cities who happened to be here on July 3 would say, ‘Why is it on the third?’ It was considered unusual,” Samuelson said.

It also was confusing to some city officials, who decided to make a historic change last year. For the first time in more than three decades, the city held its Fourth of July fireworks on the 4th — at three different locations.

And this year, with the city cutting fireworks fromTaste of Chicago festivities, locals can get their bang at Navy Pier on Saturday night or Monday night, but not Sunday.

“A lot of the institutional memory of why it was on the 3rd was a little remote,” Samuelson explained.

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The view from the 90th floor of Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Chicago shows a glowing skyline July 3, 2009. (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune photo / July 2, 2011)

source : www.

As Fireworks Go, So Goes the Economy

ST. HELENA, Calif. — On Friday afternoon, as a steady stream of S.U.V.-loving chardonnay sippers inched along Highway 29, the dutiful members of local American Legion post were proudly pursuing a far more sober mission: selling sparklers, snappers and smoke bombs at a roadside fireworks stand, just as they have since Nixon — another patriotic Californian — was president.

St. Helena, you see, is the only city in Napa County to allow fireworks, and the American Legion stand — a weeklong Fourth of July fund-raising enterprise — is both an annual duty for members and a moment to reflect on the state of their nation.

“We sell fireworks, so that proves that St. Helena is the last bastion of sanity in the whole crazy county,” said Dave Curtin, 63, a former investigator with the St. Helena Police Department and a Tea Party fan. “But we’re outnumbered here.”

Indeed, Mr. Curtin and several other stand workers identified themselves as the few conservative grapes in an otherwise largely liberal valley, which sits about 40 miles north of San Francisco. And not surprising, their estimation as to the nation’s condition was largely pessimistic.

Ed Chaix, 85, used an especially colorful — and spectacularly unprintable — descriptive to sum up his opinion. “All the Democrats want to do is spend money, spend money,” said Mr. Chaix, who owns a 35-acre vineyard. “You have to use a little common sense.”

Despite its reputation as a destination, Napa has not been immune to economic troubles. Residents say sales of wine are down, and Mr. Chaix says he has had to take a cut in what he gets for his Cabernet grapes.

Nor had anyone bought the stand’s biggest ticket item yet: the Big Bang, a $543 box of explosive everything that stands four feet tall.

“People are hurting,” said Robert Taylor, 65, a Vietnam veteran and retired business executive who was on the morning shift. “Somebody who used to buy $100 worth is buying $50 now.”

All of which was worrying to the post’s leaders, who depend on fireworks sales — California law strictly limits when fireworks may be sold — to support all manner of activities, including memorials for fallen members.

Ramona Decker, a widow of one of those members, said she had been touched by their care and was helping out at the stand to show her thanks. “It took me a while to come back,” said Ms. Decker, 83, whose husband, Leland, died in 2006. “I miss him. But they’re a good group of guys.”

On Friday, though, business seemed good, as fledging pyromaniacs stocked up. Mr. Chaix said he had always loved fireworks — and the Fourth — despite having once served as a volunteer fire chief in a neighboring city in a valley where wildfires are a constant threat.

“I like the noise and the smoke and everything,” Mr. Chaix said with a devilish smile. “I was always a renegade, I guess.”

A version of this article appeared in print on July 3, 2010, on page A9 of the New York edition.

I hope this news useful.



~ by keishinta on July 3, 2011.

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