Even during hard times, some people have money to burn.
Mark Lansing is one of them. He’s shelling out $12,000 for the early Fourth of July celebration that takes place today in Freedom Park in Scotia.
“It’s sort of a traditional thing and generates some goodwill,” said Lansing, who has owned Jumpin’ Jack’s drive-in restaurant across from the park’s tennis courts and softball fields since 1976.
Lansing’s dollars will sparkle bright red and green, crackle, whistle and explode in a fireworks show scheduled for 9:15 p.m. The annual Jumpin’ Jack’s show is one of the Capital Region’s first holiday shows; dozens of others will follow, most of them next weekend.
Fireworks in the region
Click here for a schedule for regional fireworks shows.
Companies and communities that sponsor fireworks displays are disregarding the country’s economic problems and will light the skies for the holiday. Jeff Alonzo, president of Alonzo Fireworks in Mechanicville, said his outfit will produce 75 shows during the month, 50 of them during the Fourth of July weekend.
“It started really slow; we were kind of getting worried,” Alonzo said. “But it’s come on strong. We’re looking to do as least as much as we did last year. July, August and even into September are looking very strong for us.”
Alonzo said his shows cost about $5,000 on average; larger productions cost between $20,000 and $30,000. Some communities have lost sponsors, and he said he’s reworked prices in some places to become more affordable.
“I’d rather cut back a cost than lose a show completely,” he said.
In some instances, communities are working with each other to ensure more people see shows. Alonzo said Bolton Landing and Lake George both celebrated with rockets and sparks on the Fourth of July last year. This year, Lake George’s show will be held July 3 and Bolton’s will fire away on July 4.
“Bolton Landing is ecstatic that Lake George is doing theirs
on Friday and Bolton Landing will do theirs on Saturday,” Alonzo said.
He believes the fact that people are spending less money on vacations has persuaded some places to continue their Fourth of July traditions. “They’re saying, ‘Let’s make it worth their while to stay at home,’ ” he said.
Lake George officials want people to consider trips north this summer, and figure fireworks will help put people in the car. The village will sponsor fireworks shows every Thursday night during July and August.
Boats on the lake
The rule of attraction is also part of the thinking at Lanzi’s on the Lake restaurant in Mayfield, on the Great Sacandaga Lake. Larry Lanzi, who owns the restaurant with his brothers Lou, Chris, Tony and Joe, said the brothers have considered dropping their fireworks shows. But Lanzi says the brothers buy goodwill with their pyrotechnic investments — that’s why they continue big blasts at their Mayfield spot and another show at the family-owned Sport Island Pub in Northville.
This year, fireworks will be held at Lanzi’s on the Lake on Friday, July 3 and at the Sport Island on Sunday, July 5.
“It’s tradition, the Fourth of July,” Lanzi said, adding that people call every year about the July fireworks. People always pack the restaurant, the grounds near the restaurant and the nearby Sacandaga to see the sights in the sky. “We get a lot of boaters,” Lanzi said. “It’s a sea of blue lights when you look out; there are hundreds of boats out here.”
Lansing is happy to be first, eight days before the Fourth of July.
“A lot of people are out of town for the holiday and can’t see any fireworks locally,” he said. “Here, they can get their fireworks fix and take off.”
Mona Golub is glad people keep coming back to the Empire State Plaza in Albany for their fireworks fun. The Price Chopper supermarket chain has sponsored the annual Fourth of July show since 1976.
“It brings our community together,” said Golub, the chain’s vice president of public relations and consumer services. “It’s never something we’ve considered not doing, since the beginning. It’s appreciated by our hometown region, we see people enjoy the day, we hear from people after the day.”