This New Year’s Eve, there will be no midnight fireworks by the Town of Hay River to welcome 2020.
There will be only one fireworks display by the town on Dec. 31, and that will be at 8 p.m.
In recent years, there have been two shows – one at 8 p.m. and the other at midnight – until the upcoming change.
Glenn Smith, the assistant senior administrative officer with the town, explained the New Year’s Eve fireworks display and related activities are a joint effort of the town’s recreation staff and the Hay River Fire Department.
“Those two groups in consultation thought that they would do one show this year,” he said.
Smith said that decision involved considering the amount of resources required for two shows on New Year’s Eve.
“But I think the opportunity was really to put together one bigger show and try to maximize the number of people that would be able to come out and view the fireworks and take in the activities,” he said. “So it was thought that the earlier time works better for people of all groups.”
Smith noted that some people might not be able to make it to the midnight hour to celebrate the New Year.
“So we did go with the earlier time and an opportunity to have young and old out there to see a bigger show,” he said, adding that consolidating the two shows into one means more fireworks at the single display.
Smith pointed out that firefighters set up and take down the equipment needed for the fireworks, and present the show in between.
One show at 8 p.m. would not spread out the firefighters’ efforts through the night, he explained. “So now we have resources that are available to provide their regular services of fire protection and ambulance services a little easier.”
Smith said it is worth trying only an 8 p.m. fireworks show on New Year’s Eve.
“We’re not saying this is going to be a permanent change moving forward, but I think it’s one we’re testing to see what the results are and the feedback as it occurs,” he said. “But hopefully we’ll see a larger group.”
The fireworks display and a bonfire – known as the Festival at the Forks – will take place as usual on the banks of the Hay River near the main ice crossing to the Hay River Reserve.