ITHACA, N.Y. — The countdown has begun for the 2019 Ithaca Rotary Community Fireworks Celebration — the 6 to 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 3rd extravaganza of family entertainment, feasting and pyrotechnics throughout the parks, hills and waterways of this lakeshore city with a knack for celebration.
The rain date is Friday, July 5th. Admission is free, thanks to donations by fireworks fans and generous underwriting by major sponsors.
Fireworks partners — the City of Ithaca, Friends of Stewart Park and the Rotary Club of Ithaca—promise fireworks, musical entertainment and an international array of food in Stewart Park, offering pre-Independence Day fun for all.
Recalling the decades-long tradition of community fireworks celebrations, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick proclaimed: “I love the fireworks! They bring everyone together to look, shoulder to shoulder, at the same night sky. Ithaca’s community fireworks has become again this town’s signature, summertime celebration.”
“The Ithaca 4th of July Fireworks is a marvelous tradition; many people don’t realize it’s organized and run by volunteers and funded 100% by donations from our community,” said Ithaca Rotary Club President Mary Berens. “Join us on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at Stewart Park…it’s the best celebration of the year!”
“It’s exciting to have the Ithaca fireworks back in our lakeshore parks where they belong,” added Friends of Stewart Park’s Rick Manning. “Happy Independence Day, starting the night before!”
Ithaca pyrotechnics are launched (by the American Fireworks Company) from the city golf course, making both Stewart and Cass parks prime viewing spots. Stewart Park is where the entertainment (including music by the Smoking Loons), family fun and food vendors unfold.
However, vehicle access to Stewart Park is strictly limited the day and evening of the event, so Cass Park’s ample parking makes that site an alternative for those with cars. Parking also is available at Ithaca High School, and TCAT bus shuttles will circulate through downtown, Ithaca High School and the Stewart Park entrance before, during and after the event. Fireworks viewers at Cass Park are urged to use designated pedestrian crossings over Route 89, a busy state highway.
Other prime viewing spots favored by longtime Ithaca fireworks fans include the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College, Cayuga Heights’ Sunset Park and the lake itself, although many families report that Stewart Park is the place to be. Fireworks are launched at 9:45pm.
Volunteers with donation buckets will circulate among fireworks viewers wherever they congregate on July 3. Donations also are appreciated ahead of time at specially marked canisters in banks and shops throughout the community. Even more convenient is the online GiveGab campaign, accessible at the 2019 Ithaca Rotary Community Fireworks homepage https://www.ithacafireworks.org.
Donations help keep the popular event free and accessible to everyone. Funds raised over the cost of the event help support local community programs.
Safety and security services are provided by Bangs Ambulance, Ithaca Police Department and Fire Department, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, and Cayuga Security. Dozens of volunteers from the Rotary Club of Ithaca and the community will help with logistics.
Featured image by Jacob Mroczek/The Ithaca Voice