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No Main Bloomington Fireworks Show, Smaller Groups Step In


Bloomington’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show is not taking place this year.

In past years, the AMVETS Post 2000 in Bloomington sponsored an official city fireworks show on the Monroe County Fairgrounds. That tradition will not continue this year because of finances.

“It’s just dollars and cents, and at a point, we ran out of dollars and cents,” Dave Cobb, Chairman on the AMVETS Board of Trustees, says. “Freedom is not free, and neither are the fireworks.”

The display typically costs $25,000. AMVETS solicits private donations, but Cobb says donations have been between $5,000 and $7,000 short of the total costs each per year. The county and city do not provide any funding.

This video from the 2010 display shows what the $25,000 pays for.

With no official city fireworks display on the schedule, various local organizations have put together their own celebrations.

Southside Christian Church in Bloomington is setting off fireworks for the fifth year in a row on Wednesday, July 3.

“I’d estimate we have about 300 people normally show up – people from the community, friends and family of church members,” and parish member and the show’s pyrotechnician Craig Binkley says. “I would expect with other shows not shooting this year, we’ll probably double that.”

Senior pastor Craig Moore said with crowds expected to be larger than normal, organizers will need to plan accordingly.

“We’ll take some extra steps to try to make sure that we have adequate numbers of people to direct folks and to make parking possible, and do the best we can to host the folks that come,” he says.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with food, live music and activities for kids. Moore said he is excited to be able to do something for the greater community.

“We want to create an opportunity for families to have a great experience together, to make a memory, to enjoy an evening, to celebrate our country’s history, and to do that in an environment that’s very family friendly,” he says.

But because fireworks displays will be less centralized, the Bloomington Fire Department is warning people to take extra safety precautions.

“With the lack of a local display this year, we might anticipate a slightly larger problem with fireworks,” Fire Prevention Officer Scott Smith says. “Safety is one of the greatest concerns in our community.”

Smith says the only thing the BPD can do is try to educate people about safety standards and be prepared to respond to emergencies.

U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2011, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Eight out of nine of those injuries involved legally permissible firework products.

Consumer fireworks are legal to discharge in the state, in addition to sparklers.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommends using a clear, open area when setting off fireworks, keeping audiences a safe distance away from the launching site. Those in close proximity to or operating fireworks are urged to wear safety glasses. DHS also encourages lighting one firework at a time, and never attempting to re-light any “dud” firework items.

Per state law, fireworks may be discharged between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m. on the Fourth of July. Launch sites may include personal property, property of someone who has granted permission, or at community-designated discharge locations.

Several other towns near Bloomington, including Ellettsville and Nashville, will also set off their own fireworks. Bloomington is also celebrating with a parade on the Courthouse Square on July Fourth.

For more information on state fireworks regulations and safety recommendations, visit

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