Updated 07/03/2012 07:29 AM
Fireworks make a comeback in Ithaca
After 64 years, the Ithaca community fireworks display almost didn't happen. But a last minute effort brought the show back downtown Monday night. Tamara Lindstrom tells us how the mayor, scores of volunteers, and the community stepped in to save the celebration.
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ITHACA, N.Y. -- An Independence Day tradition made a comeback in Ithaca, and drew what looked like the entire city down to the water.
"Fireworks! We're going to see fireworks," said excited 5-year-old twins, Leah and Henry Lukezic.
"We're coming here to see what we haven't had here for a few years, so we're really excited," said their father, Ithaca resident Bret Lukezic.
"We're here to see the fireworks and hopefully get some food, hang out with some nice people. See what the Ithaca nights are like," said Scott Oury, visiting from New Jersey.
The community fireworks display has spent the last couple of years in Dryden, but this year had nowhere to go. That is, until one city official got a bright idea.
"The mayor woke up about a month ago and said 'You know, I'd really like to bring the fireworks back to the City of Ithaca,'" said organizer Vicky Taylor of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick.
While people were able to see the fireworks from all around the city, about 5,000 people came to Stewart Park for some fun and games beforehand. About 60 volunteers helped with the effort, which took just four weeks to put together.
"We raised all the funds to pay for the whole event so it's not coming out of any city budgets," Taylor said. "The public donated generously and we're here today."
More than $20,000 in donations covered the costs, bringing the community together in a sparkling celebration.
"I think it means a lot. Stewart Park has a place deep in everybody's heart," Taylor said. "So it's nice to bring an event like this to the park and have everybody come together for a free event."
An event organizers say will be back next year.