New Year's Eve

Vt. Communities Cancel Pricey Fireworks Shows, Offer Alternative NYE Events

The cost of fireworks displays has exploded

NBC Universal, Inc.

There will be no fireworks shows in a pair of Vermont communities this New Year's Eve, due to a variety of reasons — including higher prices for materials used in the displays.

The American Pyrotechnics Association said earlier this year costs across the industry shot up 35% or so in 2022. The organization pointed to higher prices for raw materials, shipping, labor, and other impacts from inflation.

In St. Johnsbury, First Night North is returning Saturday after two virtual celebrations because of the pandemic. This is the 30th First Night North.

"People are really excited to be back in person and celebrate as a community again," said Ashley Van Zandt of First Night North.

However, fireworks will not be part of the event, Van Zandt noted.

First Night North had been thinking of focusing on more participatory activities anyway, Van Zandt told NECN and NBC10 Boston, so instead of fireworks, will close down Main Street for a late-night dance party.

"Who doesn't want to dance in the street — it's so fun," Van Zandt said.

In Vermont's state capital, Montpelier, there will be no fireworks on New Year's Eve, either. Organizers of prior years' events cited increased costs, as well as logistics and staffing concerns.

The nonprofit community group Montpelier Alive said the bill for a fireworks show would have been $12,000.

"We did not have a sponsor this year," added the interim executive director of Montpelier Alive, Katie Trautz. "So it wasn't in our budget, and the cost of fireworks has gone up so much."

However, there are concerts and other activities planned in Montpelier, Trautz said, with special offerings from prominent businesses.

"Which is really nice," Trautz said. "It will feel like a festival across town."

Montpelier Alive emphasized it will be working to develop additional New Year's Eve programming for next year, and that could include fireworks — or, perhaps, a creative alternative.

For a list of New Year's Eve activities in Montpelier, visit this website.

Vermont's largest city, Burlington, is still having its 8 p.m. fireworks show New Year's Eve as part of the event known as Highlight. The gathering on the waterfront will also feature a concert, a performance from the fiery dance troupe Cirque de Fuego, and the burning of a large wooden sculpture of Champ the Lake Champlain lake monster.

Back in St. Johnsbury, First Night North is gearing up for eight hours of entertainment across 12 venues. Performers include singer-songwriters, comedians, and magicians. First Night North views its block party replacement for those pricey fireworks as potentially the start of a whole new tradition to ring in the new year.

"We're very excited," Van Zandt beamed.

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