WILMINGTON, MA — The 2016 Wilmington Fun on the Fourth celebration was, by almost all accounts, an overwhelming success.
The 4-day celebration ended on a bit of a sour note for some families, however, after the carnival shut down 3.5 hours early on Sunday. The Fiesta Shows-operated carnival was advertised to run until 8pm, but closed at 4:30pm.
Wilmington Apple reached out to Town Manager Jeff Hull to learn more about the decision to close early.
“I received a call on Sunday from Wilmington Police Chief Michael Begonis who was contacted by Fiesta Shows asking if they could shut down the rides early due to the low turnout,” explained Hull. “I made the decision to permit Fiesta to close the carnival early if the crowds did not pick up by 4:30pm. When I viewed the carnival area around 3:30pm, I noted that some rides were not running and other rides were half occupied or less than half occupied. Some of the game booths in the carnival had little to no activity.”
“There were very few people on the Town Common as there were no scheduled activities,” continued Hull, also noting that all but three of the non-profit booths on the Town Common were closed. “It did not seem to make sense to continue to have all the police personnel and public works personnel on duty for a relatively small crowd which did not show any signs of increasing in size.”
“I admit that this last minute decision to close the carnival early was no doubt a major disappointment to young children who were looking forward to enjoying a few more rides on Sunday evening,” recognized Hull. “My apologies to all the parents/caregivers and children who were expecting to turn out later in the day to enjoy the rides.”
One of those children was Bella Chavez, who shared a letter she penned with Wilmington Apple.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: While the letter is addressed to the Fourth of July Committee, Town Manager Hull and Wilmington Fourth of July Committee Chair Scott Garrant confirmed it was the Town’s decision, based on a request from Fiesta Shows, to close the carnival early. It was NOT the Fourth of July Committee’s decision.)
Several parents sounded off in the Wilmington MA Community Board Facebook page upon hearing about the unexpected closing on Sunday afternoon.
- “We were heading down shortly for more family fun. Not cool they are changing it up”
- “We are very upset and I spoke to a carnival manager who said it was because they were not busy… Stupid decision and very poor planning”
- “Such a bummer! I was planning to head up there with my son at that time”
- “So disappointed! Says on website til 8pm. Just got here and sign says 4:30 now”
One parent saw a silver lining:
- “A bit of a bummer since we showed up at 3:45, but if it had been open any longer I’d have to take out a 2nd mortgage!”
And another parent put the unexpected closure in perspective:
- “It was great to have things back on the common but there are bumps to work out. The entire celebration has been reworked… It’s to be expected to have at least a decision or two that turns out to be unpopular. Smile, learn and move on. Happy 4th of July!!!”
Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.