For many businesses in Burlington, especially those close to the waterfront, the day before Independence Day, is usually one of the busiest days of the year. The waterfront is typically packed with thousands of people, anticipating the big show.
But this year an Independence Day tradition for Burlingtonians, and other Vermonters, isn’t happening. The July 3rd fireworks show was canceled in May. Mayor Miro Weinberger, and others, have said it would simply have been too difficult for spectators to keep their distance.
For some area businesses, it means a big money-maker has fizzled out. “Today is the most important day for all, I mean today is the busiest day of the year,” says Robert Saffi, Owner of ‘Ice Cream Bob’s’.
He says things have been that way for the past 17 years, since opening up his shop on college street. “Thousands of people come down here. The whole waterfront has all vendors on it, and then we have a train that comes in four times from that railroad, and they drop off hundreds of people. So its a big loss.”
And they have some company. Tom Swenson from Northstar Fireworks, the company who puts on the show in Burlington, says they’ve had to get creative this year. “A lot of public shows have been cancelled, we’ve been trying our best to come up with alternative ways of doing shows, while maintaining social distancing.”
Some towns have decided to hold drive-in-style shows. As Swenson tells me, they may not be the same, but they’re better than nothing. “You’re not really hearing the concussions, you’re not necessarily smelling the powders, you know it’s not the same as being on a blanket with your family, but it’s something you know. I think that’s what our goal is, to deliver something for people.”
Tonight the City is encouraging people to make some noise together at 7:30, by shouting, banging on pots and pans, or playing music. But however you planning on celebrating, make sure you do it safely.