BELLOWS FALLS -- If you happen to find yourself smooching your sweetheart under the stars at Old Home Days next Saturday, don’t be surprised when you see fireworks.
The pyrotechnic demonstration, scheduled to start at about 9:30 p.m., has been a tradition at the three-day festival for many years. The brainchild of a married couple who once lived in Bellows Falls for a long time, the fireworks were the source of a bit of controversy this year.
In FY2009, voters chose to appropriate $4,500 each year for the fireworks display. But Lamont Barnett, the Old Home Days Committee’s fundraising chairman, said Municipal Manager Timothy Cullenen wanted to spend the money -- which the Rockingham Selectboard had moved into a general fund -- elsewhere.
At a Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees meeting in May, Cullenen voiced his displeasure when Trustee Deborah Wright requested that $3,000 be found in the budget to hold the fireworks show, just after she objected to spending $200 on a water bill for a children’s playground. Cullenen said spending that much money on fireworks was a "total waste of time, money and energy" during a recession.
Wright said she just didn’t want to lose what she thinks is "the big bang of Old Home Days."
Barnett said the Selectboard approved the expenditure and everything is on schedule.
In an earlier telephone interview, Barnett said the display has for the past three years cost
"It’s one of those events that people from Claremont (N.H.) to Brattleboro come for," he said, adding that many individuals show up several hours early to secure a place to sit.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.