Despite early start, Marion fireworks fail to cut through fog

Jul 9, 2024

MARION — An announcement came from the speakers at Silvershell Beach just after 8 p.m. Sunday, July 7.

Marion’s firework display — already postponed from Saturday, July 6 — would begin an hour early due to impending fog.

“Welcome to New England,” the man reporting the time change said to the throng of hundreds.

But it was too late.

A thick canopy of opaque gray already hung in the sky above the water at Silvershell Beach, and the light show mostly could not be seen.

“There’s no fireworks,” a boy said from among the crowd.

The fireworks could certainly be heard though. A barge in the water boomed repeatedly as it shot firework after firework into cloudy obscurity.

And as they descended, the pyrotechnics — invisible — fizzled and burned.

In a July 9 letter, Marion Town Administrator Geoffrey Gorman said “safety was the priority.”

A postponement from Saturday, July 6 was due to high winds, according to Gorman.

The decisions to push the show to Sunday and to start early were made on the recommendation of the professional fireworks vendor contracted by Marion , which the town has used over the last several years, according to the letter.

“The safety of spectators, surrounding property and the barge technicians was the priority,” Gorman said. “High winds can cause flammables to drift into surrounding homes and trees and dense fog not only impacts viewing but can damage the fireworks and equipment creating an added layer of danger to the barge crew.”

Postponing the fireworks further from Sunday was not possible due to contract and budget constraints, according to Gorman.

A comment posted by the “Marion Fireworks 2024” Facebook page at 8:30 p.m. Sunday said they were “out of luck” if the weather didn’t cooperate.

“Very unfortunate,” the comment said. “We are heartbroken.”

An image posted June 10 by the page indicated that at least $70,000 had been raised for the fireworks. It is unclear what the final fundraised total was or how much the show actually cost.

Members of the Marion Fireworks Committee did not respond to requests for comment.

A few fireworks still did manage to cut through the haze. Those bursts of light prompted cheers and hollers from spectators on lawn chairs and picnic blankets at the beach.

And while the airborne fireworks struggled to appear in the sky, the explosions from their launches on the barge could be seen.

The discharges of fire from the boat grew considerably during the display’s grand finale. Dots of fireworks — like falling stars — dropped and flickered. A muted hue of red diffused in the fog.