Just how lousy were the fireworks at the conclusion of the Ansonia Summerfest at Nolan Field July 19?
“IS THAT IT?” some yelled angrily from Wakelee Avenue. They weren’t being divas.
The underwhelming $5,500 “flare show” caused city officials to stop payment on a check issued to the company that put on the disappointing display.
The show simply wasn’t what Ansonia ordered, according to city officials.
“The moment the fireworks ended I ran to talk to the guy doing the display,” Chris Tymniak, Ansonia’s chief administrative officer, said Monday (July 28). “We immediately stopped payment on the check.”
Hey, Wha Happened?
The city’s first “Summerfest” occurred July 19.
By most accounts, it went off in large part without a hitch.
Thousands enjoyed a vintage baseball game between teams representing Derby and Ansonia.
A lineup of bands serenaded festival-goers for hours.
Restaurants and other vendors showcased their fare as residents milled about in anticipation of a fireworks show to close the celebration.
But when the pyrotechnics began, those anticipating a Grucci-like extravaganza were disappointed — sorely.
“They essentially changed it to a flare show,” Tymniak said. “There was supposed to be whistlers, bangs, the whole bit.”
The proximity of Route 8 and Wakelee Avenue to the launch site complicated the show’s logistics, Tymniak said.
But not to the extent city officials had anticipated.
“We were aware they weren’t going to be able to fire above 150 feet,” he said. “We weren’t aware they had switched it entirely to a flare show . . . They weren’t what we expected. What was described to us wasn’t what we actually purchased.”
Even as the fireworks display was going on, residents voiced their displeasure.
Many others detailed their disappointment with the fireworks on the Valley Indy’s Facebook page.
One of the organizers of the event, Ansonia resident Greg Martin, responded to the complaints on the Valley Indy’s Facebook page, noting the “disappointing” fireworks display would be addressed, but stressing the success of the festival overall.
“This was a pilot event,” Martin wrote. “It can evolve in many directions in the future. Aside from a couple toe-stubbings (which can be fixed and is normal for all first time events), everyone involved in its production is (to be) applauded.”
‘Settlement’ In The Works
Tymniak said Monday the city is close to a “settlement” over the fireworks show.
The city is withholding a $3,000 payment to the contractor that put on the display, New Hampshire-based Atlas PyroVision.
The cost of the show was partly paid for by a donation by sponsor Stop & Shop, Tymniak said.
The Valley Indy sent an email seeking comment and a phone message with the company Monday (July 28) afternoon.
The city already paid a $2,500 deposit for the display. Martin said the city will have the option to have a new, “appropriate” fireworks show at no cost next year.
Or, if they want, they can have a free show later this year.
Tymniak said officials want to see a video of the display on offer before making any commitments, but noted the fireworks vendor “has been very responsive and willing to work with the city.”
Martin said the July 19 display was not what even he expected, blaming an “internal miscommunication” at the fireworks vendor for the snafu.
But he again noted the Summerfest overall showed promise for the future, considering it was organized in fewer than two months.