News about a summer holiday tradition put a damper on Thanksgiving this year: Shamokin’s annual fireworks display can no longer be shot off from the Glen Burn culm bank.
Property owner Ed Helfrick Jr. told Citizens for a Better Community (CBC), the fundraising arm for the display, that there are new plans to mine the area and insurance won’t allow the liability of the same ground serving as a launch site for fireworks.
It’s disappointing, for sure, but it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t have to mean the end of the fireworks.
First, let’s consider the good news. The fact that Helfrick plans to mine the land may mean removal of more of the mountain of culm that has sat there for decades. So there could be some environmental benefit and, of course, it likely means jobs and tax revenue.
Also, while many have been quick to fire criticism at the Helfricks for the decision, we can’t think of one instance over the years of where someone — including in this space — actually thanked the Helfricks for allowing their property to be used, free of charge.
In hindsight, it’s clear: we took it for granted.
Now, the issue of the fireworks display continuing. We’re confident it will. The community is far too invested in this tradition — quite literally, in fact, with money having been collected last year for the 2019 show.
There are options: A ground display, which isn’t as visually effective, granted, but has worked before. There could also be a new launch site on Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area land, property that is owned by Northumberland County and, thereby, is suited for a public project such as the fireworks.
Whatever it is, we are confident that, with this new reality sinking in, the community will rally to find a solution. A new launch site is not likely to match the perfect location that the Glen Burn provided, but as long as it serves the same purpose of bringing the community together in celebration, then the show will go on.
And we shouldn’t take that for granted.