August 15, 2020

Old Lyme Selectmen Vote to Cancel Midsummer Fireworks Slated for July 25

No fireworks this year after all — the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to cancel the midsummer event planned for July 25.

OLD LYME — At an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s Special Meeting held Tuesday, July 14, the selectmen voted by a 2-1 majority to cancel the fireworks display, which they had previously approved to be held on Saturday, July 25.

Griswold told LymeLine by phone Thursday morning that plans were in progress to hold the fireworks –“the school was on board,” and, “we had got the application going,” when “We received word that the Governor was postponing Phase 3″ of the state’s reopening plan.” Griswold explained that this meant the crowd would have to be reduced to 500, so he had to the Governor’s Senior Adviser Jonathan Harris and asked whether, “there could be any accommodation for a larger number.”

Harris wanted to know if there would be two viewing areas and felt if that were the case, “there might be some latitude.” Griswold determined there were two such areas if one considered the areas behind the middle and Center Schools as separate entities.

When the selectmen met on Tuesday to discuss moving forward with the plans, concerns were raised which included the possible “redundant services” if there were two areas, and ultimately, although Griswold continued to maintain the situation would be manageable, the vote went against him.

Griswold (R) was the sole vote supporting the motion to continue with the fireworks while Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (D) and Selectman Chris Kerr (R) voted against the motion.

Griswold stressed to LymeLine that the vote was specifically to not hold the fireworks on July 25, meaning it left the door open for them to be rescheduled to a later date. In reality, however, Griswold stated, “I don’t have confidence it will be rescheduled.”

He defended his vote saying, “I thought it would be a nice thing for people to come and enjoy … It’s a great show and would be a nice diversion when so many things are cancelled.” He conceded though, “We might lose some of the crowd [due] to social distancing [requirements,] and said, “I can understand the reluctance [to go ahead.]”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal told LymeLine in a text message that she was, “… personally disappointed that the Board of Selectmen had to cancel a cherished community event,” adding, “However, it is the prudent decision given the Covid-19 crisis and State guidelines to keep our community safe.”

Griswold concluded optimistically, “Hopefully, we can have it [the fireworks] back on the schedule for next year.”




  1. Ellen Cole says

    I think this is a wise decision at this time, and I thank the board of selectmen for their consideration of public safety.
    But can anyone explain how and why the fireworks came to be displayed from the high school campus? It’s dark, it’s buggy, and some years its unbearably hot at the school. And when our summer is especially dry, fire is a concern.
    When we first moved to Old Lyme, the town shot off fireworks over Long Island Sound, and they were visible from Sound View, White Sands, and all the beach areas along the shore. This brought townspeople down to Soundview, which doesn’t happen much these days (and businesses like the Carousel Shop and Vecchitto’s benefited from the crowds!). The displays are better, too, with reflections on the water.
    I assume that the fireworks were moved because they were timed to coincide with the Midsummer Fair, which takes place in the historic district — but they never really seemed a part of that event anyway.
    Is there any reason that the fireworks can’t be moved back to the shore? If parking is a problem, maybe shuttle buses can be used. Another possibility would be to join forces with Old Saybrook and display the fireworks in the CT River between the two towns, visible from both sides of the river (although there are fewer public places for viewing on the Old Lyme side — DEEP and Smith Neck launch would fill quickly — but again, buses?).

    • Thomas D Gotowka says

      Perhaps you should pitch this idea to the Sound View Association. Would be a nice gesture to the residents of Old Lyme. There are probably some creative ways that SVA can recoup part of the cost.

Speak Your Mind