By Tony E. Windsor

At a recent Laurel Mayor and Council meeting, Town Manager Jamie Smith presented information about the upcoming community Fourth of July celebration. After having to adjust to the COVID pandemic in the past two years, Smith said this year’s celebration will return to pre-COVID status.

However, she also announced that the fireworks vendor that the town has worked with for the past 25 years, has cancelled its affiliation with Laurel. The company cited a lack of employees and rising costs as the reasons for having to cut back on venues.

Smith said costs for fireworks have drastically increased. She said the fireworks are shipped from China and what previously cost about $14,000 has risen to as much as $35,000. The town has been able to locate a fireworks service company that is willing to offer its services to the town’s Fourth of July celebration. The company currently does the firework display for the city of New Castle.

“We will be having to pay a little more for these fireworks,” Smith said. She said the vendor will put together a package and pricing, which is estimated to be around $20,000. The last fireworks display in Laurel came at a cost of about $17,500. Smith said the town’s community firework’s donation campaign raised $14,000 and the town has included funds in its annual budget which paid for the balance.

She said the town will again seek donations from the community and together with the budgeted fireworks funds, she is confident that the money will be available to pay for the fireworks. “If we come up a little short we still have some money left over from last year’s Fourth of July event,” Smith said. Mayor John Shwed said he feels that whatever the cost is, the town should go to the community and reach out to elected officials. “We should find out the price for the fireworks and then just go after it,” he said.

She said the town has already started sending out letters seeking fireworks donations and notifying any food and non-food vendors who may be interested in participating in the Fourth of July celebration. Smith said fireworks donations have already begun to come in.

Two bands, Lime Green and Pistol Whipped have been scheduled to perform in the afternoon and the Delmarva Party Animal Petting Zoo is slated to participate from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Also scheduled is a car show and the annual Fourth of July parade, which is slated for 7 p.m.

Smith said once again the Laurel Ministerial Association will also host the annual Fourth of July Prayer Breakfast.

Shwed said he is “excited” that once again the town will be hosting a traditional “live” Fourth of July event. “I am really excited that we are having a live Fourth of July, and I am sure there are a lot of people in the community who are excited also,” he said.