Millsboro fireworks show draws a huge crowd

MILLSBORO – There’s something about fireworks that draws a crowd.

“The excitement. The noise. The bright lights,” said Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Turner.

Thunderous pyrotechnics exploded above Millsboro Pond Saturday night in a pre-Independence Day “Stars & Stripes” celebration presented by the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce and supportive sponsors.

Cupola Park, the staging venue for a three-hour community-based event that fired up the patriotic blood for the fireworks show, was packed with several thousand spectators. Many others viewed the fireworks from their homes, street corners or other vantage points, including the Rt 24 John J. Williams Highway bridge.

All things considered, the general consensus: Stars & Stripes was a smashing success.

“We got exactly what we wished for. We got a pretty decent crowd,” said Mr. Turner. “We’re happy. The town’s happy.”

Customers stood in long lines at Fat Daddy’s BBQ and several other food and goodie vendors.

Children and adults danced up a storm to music and emcee entertainment provided by DJ Sky Brady. Cornhole participants had the chance to win prizes from Classic Rock 103.1/106.1 The Vault monitored by radio personality Brian K. Hall.

New Dimensions Church members had a steady flow of kids with face-painting requests.

And a threatening weather radar blob never materialized. “The rain disappeared,” said Mr. Turner.

The town of Millsboro earlier this year kick-started the chamber’s fundraising campaign with a $10,000 contribution toward the fireworks fund.

“It has fulfilled all of my hopes. I’m very excited about the large turnout … a lot of families,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “The weather turned out to be great. I couldn’t be happier.”

“The event exceeded all expectations,” said Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Simmons. “It was great to see families together.  Adults talking with neighbors and catching up with old friends. Kids dancing and running around without a care in the world on a nice summer evening.”

Mr. Hudson added that town leaders want “people to see Millsboro as the place to be, the place to go. And this event I think has helped reinforce that idea in people’s minds. Again, I couldn’t be happier.”

“Won’t lie, I shed a few tears as the show went on.  To know that you were part of something this great is a good feeling and everyone involved in this from the chamber, the town of Millsboro and our sponsors should be proud,” said Ms. Simmons. “This event was a joint effort with a lot of planning and thought about how to pull this off and a big thank you goes to the Millsboro Police Department for keeping everyone safe during the event and keeping traffic moving after the event.  A big thank you goes to the Millsboro Fire Company for having EMS at the park and standing by for any incident that may have happened during the event.”

“I can’t say enough about Brothers Pyro for the fireworks show.  Aaron Jackson, owner was great to work with and promised us a great show and a finale we wouldn’t forget, boy did he deliver!” said Ms. Simmons.

The chamber’s target fundraising goal was $30,000. That mark had not quite been reached prior to Saturday evening’s event during which fundraising 50/50 raffle and t-shirt sales continued.

Whether there will be an encore performance next year remains to be seen. For now it’s a waiting game, hinging in part on what happens at Legislative Hall in Dover with the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget. Funding for statewide tourism promotion – including Southern Delaware Tourism and local chambers in Sussex County – is in jeopardy as a projected cut.

That could weigh heavily on the Millsboro chamber’s ability to stage such a large-scale event.

“With tourism heading out the door it is going to dictate a lot. It’s going to be a little harder,” said Mr. Turner. “With smaller chambers like us, because we don’t have the sand, the beach and all of that stuff, it’s a big deal.”

Mr. Turner said the Millsboro chamber’s board of directors will address the issue once the budgetary mess at the state level is settled.

“When all of the dust settles … we’re going to sit down and figure out where we stand before we even decide, ‘Is there going to be a second year?’” Mr. Turner said. “I would love to see a second year; we all would. This is a great thing. This is exactly how I imagined it when I approached the town about it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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