Scotia may takeover Jumpin’ Jack’s firework display

Fireworks over the Mohawk river with boats

FILE - Fireworks light up the night sky on the Mohawk River behind Jumpin' Jacks in Scotia on June 29, 2018.

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SCOTIA — For decades, Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In has hosted a Fourth of July fireworks display that has attracted thousands of spectators who fan out across Collins Park and other locations along the river to take in the show. 

But the popular event, which attracts in excess of 10,000 people, comes at a cost: around $40,000 in recent years. The bill has been covered entirely by the seasonal business for the past 15 years, including emergency services and cleanup expenses, according to Mark Lansing Jr., owner of Jumpin’ Jack’s.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s quite a bit of money,” he said. “As a business that is in business to profit and make money, we’re losing money on that day every year.”

The fireworks display began in 1976 as a small event and has continued to grow each year. Nowadays, the show features a popular water skiing show.

Lansing said he plans to cover the cost for the event again this year, but has recently reached out to Scotia officials in hopes the village can take the event over in the future, a move that would relieve the business of the costly price tag and open up additional public safety resources that are currently unavailable for the now-private event.

Under the proposal, Jumpin’ Jack’s would become the event’s main sponsor and Lansing said he would continue to pay for the fireworks,  but the cost for emergency personnel and cleanup would be shifted to the village, an estimated $10,000 expense.

The village already sponsors a number of popular events, including Holiday on the Avenue, the Crusin’ on the Avenue car show and a Memorial Day parade, among others.

Village trustees discussed the proposal last week during a work session, where they expressed interest in the idea of taking over the fireworks show and discussed ways to fund the event without shifting the burden to taxpayers.

Much of the conversation centered around taking over the event this year, but trustees proposed ideas that could be used to fund the event in the future, including finding sponsorships and amending village code to allow food trucks to set up in Collins Park, a move that would help raise additional revenue through a special permit.

Mayor David Bucciferro on Wednesday said conversations around the topic remain ongoing, but the main objective is to ensure taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for what he said is a regional event enjoyed by thousands who live outside the village.

“It’s really a regional event, so I don’t want to ask village taxpayers to pay for it,” he said.

Bucciferro said he has several meetings set up this week about the event and expects trustees to take up the topic again at its meeting next week.

He added that there are a lot of things that need to be considered and logistics that still need to be hammered out, but said officials are hoping they can find a way to shift some of the financial burden away from Jumpin’ Jack’s before this year’s event.

The annual display is scheduled to take place this year on June 30.

“This has been an important part of the history of the village and we want to be able to continue it,” Bucciferro said.

Lansing, meanwhile, stressed that the fireworks event will still be taking place this year, adding that his intent in reaching out to the village was to begin conversations about Scotia taking over the display in the coming years.

“I’m not trying to strongarm the village into paying for this at the last minute,” he said. “I just wanted them to know my situation because a lot of people aren’t aware of how much money it costs me to put the show on this year.”

Lansing added that the entire village benefits from the event, noting that many walk through the village to attend the show. Not having it, he said, would definitely be a blow.

But for now, Lansing is focused on this year’s event, and is encouraging people to carpool when possible. The Sunnyside Road bridge is currently closed, which is a thoroughfare that many have used in the past to leave the village. “We’re going to need people to be patient until that bridge gets reopened,” Lansing said.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.

Categories: -News-, News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

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