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A ‘MASSIVE DISPLAY,’ WEATHER PERMITTING

chris-santoreChris Santore of Garden State Fireworks overseeing the loading of the KaBoom barge at a dock in Staten Island earlier this week. The barge is scheduled to come upriver to Red Bank on today’s 4p tide; a second barge heads to a spot near the Oceanic Bridge off Rumson early Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Welsh)

Everywhere you look, it seems, New Jersey towns and cities have scaled back or canceled their annual Independence Day fireworks shows.

Today’s Star-Ledger is among the latest media outlets to detail the economic fallout on fireworks shows.

But here in Red Bank, the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink display will go on Friday night, barring an unexpected windstorm or drenching rain — in which case it will be moved to Saturday night.

The only real difference from past editions of the event is that organizers will be out soliciting contributions to close a deficit for the $200,000 spectacle, people involved in the planning say.

The KaBoomers hope to raise enough cover the last $15,000 of this year’s cost, the Sledger reports. And as detailed here on redbankgreen, KaBoom chairman Peter Reinhart is hoping to change the way future editions are funded, getting away from a reliance on corporate sponsorships and relying more on individual giving.

More immediately, as is often the case, the focus now is on the weather.

Chris Santore, 35, a fourth-generation member of the family that owns Garden State Fireworks, says rain and clouds are no impediments to lofting the “massive display” of 25,000 shells that will light up the skies over Red Bank, Middletown and Rumson, where a second barge will once again be synched up with the Red Bank platform.

The bigger issue is wind. Laws require that no fireworks go up with winds above approximately 22 mph, Santore says.

Capt. Darren McConnell says he can recall only one rainout of what’s now called the KaBoom show, and that was early in his 21-year career with the Red Bank Police Department.

Back then,  the fireworks attracted a much smaller crowd. Now considered one of the nation’s largest and most spectacular, it is estimated to draw some 150,000 viewers to the banks of the Navesink.

A rainout would play havoc logistically, as many of the out-of-town police who are scheduled to help keep order in Red Bank on Friday are scheduled to be in Long Branch and elsewhere on July 4. A contingent of NJTransit police, scheduled to be on hand with the arrivals and departures of five extra trains on Friday, would not be available on Saturday, officials say.

Santore isn’t particularly concerned about tomorrow’s weather, though. The National Weather Service says there’s a 30-percent chance of precipitation Friday, with winds between 8 and 13 mph.

“But if it does rain, and if the audience will stick it out, the show will go on,” he tells redbankgreen.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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