Fireworks front and center this weekend in Watertown

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As the drought continues across South Dakota and the region, fireworks are becoming a talking point regarding Independence Day. And so is the limited supply.

Coming back from a smaller celebration due to the pandemic, Watertown is prepping for it’s Independence Day celebration this weekend. And Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tim Sheehan said it’s like hitting a reset button on the event.

“Last year, of course with the pandemic, we just had the fireworks show. People came, they left, they parked and they went home. It was amazing. This year, we’re going to try to lift it a little bit, make it a little bit bigger, better, stronger.” said Sheehan.

The Chamber is billing Saturday’s fireworks display as the largest in the state. Seating will be available at the Anza Soccer Complex and Premier Softball Complex on the south side of town. Sheehan said even though everything is on for now, they have contingencies prepared especially with the ongoing drought.

“At this point, my fire marshal, our fire department, our fire chief, said we’re going to go forward with it but things could change at the last minute.” said Sheehan.

And that fireworks show may be a big draw for many, as fireworks stores are expecting a drop in inventory. Lew’s Fireworks Inc. in Watertown is a distributor for many stores in the region, and President/Owner Dan Raderschadt said shipping issues abroad, and an increased demand from last year are to blame.

“What did happen last year, a lot of families decided to celebrate with fireworks in their backyard. And that was why there was such an uptick in consumer fireworks sales.” said Raderschadt.

Sheehan said the interest they see in the upcoming fireworks show, and returning to a full list of activities will be a foundation to build on for future Independence Day celebrations.

“This year, with a new interim CVB director just stepping in last week, her and myself have visited already. We want to make this an event that’s going to be bigger, better, stronger. Because we are quoting this as South Dakota’s largest fireworks.” said Sheehan.

The fireworks show begins at dusk Saturday, July 3rd. A parade is also scheduled to take place on the 4th at 2 pm, starting on Kemp Ave downtown and headed towards Watertown Stadium.

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