KaBoom!: Red Bank Fourth of July fireworks blow up

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 13:32
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fireworks070111_optBY SAMANTHA NEGRAVAL
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

To the shock of many New Jerseyans, and perhaps many New Yorkers, Red Bank’s spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show, also known as KaBoom!, has been cancelled this year. The show that attracts over 100,000 people annually is the largest of its kind in the area, and to say that fans are “disappointed” by the announcement is a vast understatement.

News of the KaBoom cancellation traveled quickly through social media last night and this morning.

“This actually made me tear up this morning,” said Danielle Kelly, a Keansburg resident. “I'm a sentimental sap but these fireworks were a staple of my childhood!”

Kelly reacted this morning on Facebook, posting the Asbury Park Press story that helps to answer the question on many minds: “Why?”

According to the Press, KaBoom! has been canceled due to fundraising struggles and the rising costs of maintaining a safe environment for the attraction. The show typically costs $250,000, but last year, due to increased security needs, the price tag rose to $275,000.

The KaBoom! committee has pulled the plug on both Navesink shows, including an expansion located up the river in Rumson.

“I started going to Kaboom in 2010, went again in 2011, and was looking forward to making it a yearly tradition,” said Jason Provinciali of Old Bridge. “It's a great event that I liked experiencing, and I'm sad to see it go away.”

According to Red Bank Patch, the KaBoom! executive committee in Red Bank further stated their reasoning in a press release.

“KaBoom is a victim of its own success. Each year brought increasing numbers of visitors to Red Bank, especially as towns throughout New Jersey cancelled their own Fourth of July fireworks displays,” said executive chairman Tim Hogan. “Our security costs doubled in the last three years, and although we raised more money in 2011 than ever before, we continued to incur a deficit with each succeeding year.”

The Asbury Park Press reports that security issues included underage drinking, public urination, and violent skirmishes during the event. And despite a $45,000 donation from Wells Fargo in 2011, the KaBoom! committee still fell behind in paying back its debt. They had even resorted to charging people for premium seating.

Rumson mayor John Ekdahl thought that charging people was a “bad omen,” reported the Press.

Meanwhile, according to Patch, Red Bank mayor Pat Menna said that there are currently no plans to replace KaBoom! with another firework display or celebration.