The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America's independence and reflect upon the freedoms we so often take for granted.
It's also a time for watching stuff explode.
After 16 months of pent-up pandemic-related grief, this year is shaping up to be a holiday to remember.
For those looking for fireworks displays around Western New York this weekend, it might be a bit trickier than most years, as some towns and cities have chosen to forego usual plans as the pandemic continues. Nevertheless, the Tribune/Sentinel has you covered with a list of confirmed locations.
Town of Grand Island
Grand Island’s Independence Day festivities will take place Saturday, July 3, and will run with minimal restrictions now that COVID-19 mandates have been lifted. The big events are the Independence Day Parade and Dick Bessel Independence Day Run.
The state now says fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. However, unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance.
Applications for parade participation are available on the Recreation Department at https://grandislandny.myrec.com.
Registration for the Dick Bessel Run is available at https://runsignup.com. Applications are also available on the Recreation Department website. Contact the department by email at [email protected] or by phone at 716-773-9680.
Road closures will occur between 8:30 a.m. to noon. The schedule includes:
•8:30 a.m. – Grand Island Boulevard closes from traffic circle to intersection of the boulevard and Baseline Road
•9 a.m. – Baseline Road closes from Alvin to Whitehaven
•9 a.m. – Kids run starts
•9:10 a.m. – Adult run starts
•9:45 a.m. (approximately) – Baseline Road opens
•9:45 a.m. (approximately) – Parade starts
•11:30 a.m. (approximately) – Parade ends
•11:50 a.m. (approximately) – All roads open
Town Supervisor John Whitney said, “This year, the July 4 parade and Dick Bessel Independence Day Run will be held on Saturday, July 3. Due to safety concerns and NYSDOT requirements, we are asking that you do not set up chairs, tents, etc., until the day of the event. Any such unattended items placed in the NYSDOT right-of-way prior to the date of the event will be removed and placed at the Town Highway Department, 1820 Whitehaven Road. If they are not picked up by Monday, July 5, they will be discarded.”
•A grand fireworks spectacular will begin at dusk Sunday, July 4, above the Richard F. Soluri Park in the Village of Lewiston. The show will be visible from Center Street, Lewiston hill, and southside streets.
In case of inclement weather, a rain date is set for Monday, July 5.
City of Niagara Falls
•City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino announced the return of fireworks at Hyde Park at dusk Sunday, July 4. This return comes after the suspension of fireworks due to COVID-19 regulations and safety precautions in 2020.
“We are pleased to announce that our partner in bringing the fireworks back to Hyde Park this year, and our principal sponsor is Joe Cecconi’s Chrysler Complex,” Restaino said. “Joe Cecconi Chrysler is a great local business with over 50 years of service in Niagara Falls.”
Owner and President of Joe Cecconi’s Chrysler Complex Mike Jensen said, “We at Joe Cecconi’s Chrysler Complex have been a part of the Niagara Falls community for more than 50 years. The community has been very supportive of our business during that time, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to give back and be a part of this year’s Fourth of July celebration.”
The mayor’s office stated, “With the reopening of New York state, a 70% vaccination rate, and recent updates to COVID-19 regulations, the return of fireworks at Hyde Park is the first of many activities that will be seen as more activities return for the summer.”
Restaino said, “The City of Niagara Falls is proud to be able to resume the fireworks display at Hyde Park on our nation’s birthday. With the celebrations seen throughout the state as pandemic restrictions are eased, it seems fitting to bring back the fireworks at Hyde Park.”
•As part of the Fourth of July festivities at Hyde Park, the Niagara Power will play the Elmira Pioneers at 6 p.m. at Sal Maglie Stadium. As part of the celebration, fans attending the game will have the option to come out on the field after the game to view the fireworks display sponsored by the Joe Cecconi Chrysler Complex. Admission tickets for the game will be sold for $1. Concessions will also be available throughout the entire duration of this event.
“The City of Niagara Falls is pleased to be able to offer not only the Fourth of July fireworks display with the help of Joe Cecconi Chrysler Complex, but to also have additional entertainment available with this baseball game,” Restaino said. “We’re proud to have the Niagara Power call Sal Maglie Stadium home, and invite our residents and visitors to cheer on our city’s team and enjoy the fireworks afterwards.”
The Niagara Power is comprised of collegiate baseball players from the region and around the country, representing some of the best college teams in the country. They come to Niagara Falls each summer to attempt to hone their skills and gain attention of Major League Baseball scouts.
The Niagara Power was founded in 2007 and has called Sal Maglie Stadium home. In 2021, the team moved to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), a premier wood bat collegiate league in New York and one of the best in the country, which has seen double-digit players drafted each year from the league by Major League Baseball. Currently, there are approximately 30 former players from the PGCBL franchises are in the MLB, with well over 100 more in the minors.
The sport management program at Niagara University operates the Niagara Power. The only team in the country owned and operated by a university, Niagara Power is student-run under the direction of Dr. Patrick Tutka. Students handle all aspects of gameday operations and are given the full experience of making decisions for different aspects of the organization management such as marketing, promotions, merchandise choices, and concession food choices for the team. They are also in charge of creating the gameday setup and experience for fans to be as close to minor league baseball as possible.
“The Niagara Power are invested in being a part of the Niagara Falls community,” Tutka said. “We look forward to seeing many baseball fans at Sal Maglie Stadium on July 4.”
Niagara Falls and Salamanca
•Seneca Resorts & Casinos is ready to celebrate Independence Day in grand style, with fireworks displays at both Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino.
Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino will light up the sky Friday, July 2, with fireworks expected to start at approximately 9:40 p.m. Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino will conduct its fireworks extravaganza on Sunday, July 4, also at approximately 9:40 p.m. Due to capacity restrictions, there will not be public viewing areas established on-site, but the displays will be visible from the surrounding area.
“We are incredibly excited to celebrate Independence Day with our guests, neighbors and employees again, especially after the year we have all endured,” said Kevin Nephew, president and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corp. “Our fireworks shows were a summer highlight for many years, and we expect this year’s displays at Seneca Niagara and Seneca Allegany to be as amazing and enjoyable as ever. We hope they make a great way to start and end everyone’s holiday weekend celebrations.”
Town of Niagara
•Fireworks will be on display at dusk on Saturday, July 3, at Veteran's Memorial Park, 7000 Joe Rotella Way. They will close out the town’s “Pride in the Park” event, which features live music beginning at 2 p.m. and continuing into the evening.
Hamlet of Olcott
•Olcott will celebrate with 10 p.m. fireworks over Lake Ontario. Viewing areas include Krull Park, the Lakeview Village Shoppes, behind the lighthouse, and the Olcott Yacht Club.
•Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is presenting a Fourth of July fireworks show on Independence Day at Highmark Stadium. All members of the community are invited to the Highmark Stadium parking lots to enjoy the celebration, with lots opening at 8 p.m. on July 4.
“Our community’s Independence Day celebrations come at a turning point in our region’s journey to a brighter, healthier future,” said Julie R. Snyder, vice president of community affairs at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “We are proud to partner with the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium to enjoy an unforgettable Fourth of July experience.”
Highmark Stadium’s fieldhouse lot and lots 1, 3 and 4 will open to the public at 8 p.m. with the fireworks display to follow at sundown. Parking will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and each vehicle will be allocated space to set up lawn chairs and blankets.
Tailgating is not allowed. There will be a $5 (cashless) admission charge per vehicle, with proceeds benefiting the Buffalo Bills Foundation.
•On Friday, July 2, UBreakIFix, Hebeler Sales & Service, Scott Joy Trucking and Hy-Tech Concrete, will present a fireworks extravaganza. A full card of Krown Undercoating Modifieds, Investor’s Service Sportsman, KiPo Motors Street Stocks, Sunflowers of Sanborn Mini Stocks, and Kevin’s Carpet Cleaning Novice Sportsman will also bring the roar to begin Independence Day Weekend. Pit gates will open at 5 p.m. with grandstands opening at 6 p.m. Racing will begin at 7:15 p.m. For those unable to be in attendance, the races will be streamed live on www.dirttrackdigest.tv.
Ransomville Speedway is located on Braley Road in the hamlet of Ransomville. For more information, visit www.ransomvillespeedway.com or call 791-3602 or 791-3611.
•The City of Tonawanda will hold a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Monday, July 5, at Tonawanda Island (Niagara and Gibson streets). Viewing is at Niawanda Park, 200 Niagara St. – across the river from the Grand Island Radisson.
•The City of North Tonawanda will not have its own fireworks display this year.
Town of Wheatfield
•Fireworks will be on display at dusk July 4 at the Town of Wheatfield Oppenheim Park, 2713 Niagara Falls Blvd.