You don’t know what you have until it’s gone
Recently I read a letter to the editor opining the sad fact that the Clayton fireworks, for decades held at Civitan Park, would soon become a thing of the past. As someone who has enjoyed the display for many years myself, I feel the same way, except for one thing. The writer noted that the display would probably still be held somewhere else and would likely be just as nice as before. Well, I did a little research on what is required to put on a show like Clayton’s, and basically, three things are necessary: security, parking and distance from housing.
As it turns out, Civitan Park is the only park in Clayton that satisfies all three of these needs. Security in the form of fencing keeps spectators from getting too close to the actual firing area. Civitan Park has that. There has to be enough parking to accommodate the large crowds that enjoy the show each year, and there has to be enough setback from occupied housing to satisfy state, county and town regulations. Again, Civitan Park meets those requirements too. I’d like to also note that seating, while not required, is a luxury Civitan Park has that would be sorely missed at some of the other locations.
Recently, Raleigh moved its fireworks display from the fairgrounds to an area off Fayetteville Street. At the time, citizens thought this was a marvelous idea. It wasn’t until the first Fourth of July show, which was a major disappointment, that everyone learned the dazzling displays of the past were not possible at the new location. Large-bore shells like the ones needed to create those spectacular blooms of red, white and blue accompanied by gut-tingling kabooms could not be fired at the new Raleigh location for the very reasons cited above. Clayton folk should think long and hard about where they expect the town’s Recreation Department to move our Forth of July celebration. There are few options and none that allow what we’ve gotten used to.
There are some who would say stopping a new development, one that would supply new homes for several hundred people, for an event that happens only once a year would be wrong and shortsighted. I say that keeping an event that entertains several thousand folks each year with a unique show that few towns in North Carolina and none in Johnston County can compare with is the right thing to do. After all, is it fair that one development out of the dozens that are springing up like weeds in our county cancel an event that has meant so much to so many for so long? I think not.
If you think like I do, make your feelings known to Mayor McLeod and the Town Council or leave an email on the Town of Clayton website.