Fun on the Fourth Is Back At Shriners, Town Approves Plans Last Night

WILMINGTON, MA – The town’s popular Fourth of July festivities will return to the Shriners Auditorium for the second consecutive year.

At last night’s 20-minute Board of Appeals Meeting, the Fourth of July Committee’s request for a special permit to run a carnival from Wednesday, July 1 to Saturday, July 4 at the Shriners Auditorium (99 Fordham Street) was unanimously approved.

The Carnival will run:

  • Wednesday, July 1, 6pm-10pm
  • Thursday, July 2, 6pm-10pm
  • Friday, July 3, 6pm-10pm
  • Saturday, July 4, noon-10pm [Spectacular Fireworks]
  • Sunday, July 5 will serve as a rain date

Fourth of July Committee Chairman Scott Garrant pointed out that, historically, the town has not held its fireworks on the actual Fourth of July due to a conflict with the fireworks company, but will be able to do so this year.

Prior to the vote, Garrant explained the steps his committee is taking to address the concerns of the Wilmington and North Reading residents that live near the Shriners:

  • Site layout has been reconfigured so that everything outdoors is happening towards the rare of the Shriners property. The carnival rides are farther away from the abutting homes.  The space towards the front of the property will only be used for handicap parking and parking for committee members, town officials and community booth volunteers.
  • Police and fire will reconfigure traffic flow on Fordham Road, with a special emphasis on adding a bus lane.
  • Carnival ends at 10pm now, not 11pm as in year’s past.
  • Committee will not have control over the volume of the carnival music.
  • Carnival will not utilize an infamously loud horn on one of its rides.
  • Carnival set-up and break-down will be restricted from 8am to 10pm. There will be NO overnight breakdown.

After Garrant’s presentation, a handful of abutters, mostly from North Reading, expressed appreciation for the accommodations, but stressed their strong desire that this be the last year the Fun on the Fourth occurs at the Shriners Auditorium.

“Last year was a nightmare for us and our neighborhood,” said North Reading abutter David McBride.  “Four or five days of non-stop noise.  People coming in-and-out of our yards at all hours.  When the fireworks came, people staged a viewing area in the middle of our cul-de-sac.”

“It’s our sincerest home that this is the last time it will be at the Shriners.  To the extent that we get any vote, please, please don’t do it again there next year,” continued McBride.  “We’re not happy having the carnival there, but we are happy with the professional the Fourth of July Committee has showed us.  They have been very responsive to us.”

“You had a great Fourth of July.  We did not.  It got taken away from us,” said North Reading abutter Rick Shaffer.  “We’re just neighbors.  We try to be good neighbors to the Shriners and good neighbors to Wilmington.  We need this to end.  Please, please make this the last year.”

NOTE: Wilmington Apple will have a story with Fourth of July Committee Chair Scott Garrant within the next few weeks, getting the lowdown on this year’s Fun on the Fourth.

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