New Britain's popular Great American Boom will go on this year with a different look and in a different location.
The July 4 event normally takes place in Stanley Quarter Park and attracts tens of thousands of spectators. A festival usually accompanies the headline fireworks display.
This year, the Great American Boom will take place at Willow Brook Park and be a fireworks-only event because of COVID-19 social distancing and gathering restrictions, Mayor Erin Stewart announced this week on her Facebook page.
Spectators will take part in a drive-in style event this year and there will be a charge, unlike usual, to be in the park for the fireworks. The cost will be $10 per car and you will need to pre-register at www.nbparksnrec.org.
Some people respected to Stewart's Facebook post upset that they would be charged to attend the drive-in event in the park, while others were grateful the city was still planning to hold a fireworks display.
The fireworks show is not sponsored and is paid for by the city, the mayor said in a comment on her page.
She said having to stick to health and safety regulations "is going to increase our costs this year because we have to plan for additional staff, social distancing of cars (every other space), and remember we will not receive any of the revenue like we typically do from years that we have the festival in the park. We have to try to recuperate our additional costs somewhere. Personally, I think that’s being responsible."
The mayor said if you don't want to pay to be the park, you can watch elsewhere around the city.
"If you’re not interested in paying for a front row seat, then that’s fine, don’t, watch from a side street somewhere," she wrote.