Complaints about last year’s Patriots Point Fourth of July fireworks from people who said they couldn’t see the show have prompted two changes at this year’s event.
First, a barge used as a launchpad for the pyrotechnics will be re-positioned from near the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to a location 600 feet off the bow of the aircraft carrier Yorktown.
And new signs will be erected advising patrons of Patriots Point land locations that certain spots offer poor fireworks viewing, even with the barge re-location.
“It’s going to be marked clearly where it might be obstructed by the trees,” said Ashley Smith, public information officer.
Last year, Patriots Point moved the fireworks launching pad from the Yorktown flight deck to the barge so it could sell flight-deck tickets for the show.
Some 200 landside onlookers, out of an estimated total audience of 20,000, complained about trees obstructing their view of the fireworks. The problem, officials said, was a miscalculation about the effect of re-locating the pyrotechnics launching pad.
On Thursday, $25,000 in fireworks will be launched at Patriots Point. Funding for the show, billed as the most spectacular in the Lowcountry, includes $20,000 from the town of Mount Pleasant and $5,000 from the city of Charleston. Stevens Towing, Salmons Dredging and Parker Rigging are offering their services. In all, 1,400 shells will be launched, ranging in size from three inches to eight inches.
The 19th annual show is scheduled to begin at about 9 p.m.
The prime viewing spot for the show, the Yorktown flight deck, is sold out. Landside viewing is free. Parking is $10 for both locations.
Live music starts at 5 p.m. landside and at 6 p.m. on the flight deck.
Pets are not permitted. Vendors will be selling food and drink on the flight deck and on land. Bringing cash is recommended because Patriots Point said it can not guarantee that a vendor will have the capability to process a credit card. However, ATMs will be available at Patriots Point.
An estimated 40,000 people view the show when boaters are added to the mix. For those heading out on the water to see the display, suggested safety measures include designating a sober skipper, abiding by the designated weight limit for the boat and making sure everyone is wearing a life jacket.