fw_120According to a study conducted by WalletHub.com the best place to go for fireworks this Fourth Of July is Richmond, VA.  Of 100 cities the site analyzed Richmond gets the number one overall rating.  New York City is 73 out of 100.  Durham, NC is the worst.  But according to Community Council President Ed LaVigne, Lansing's own Myers Park is the best place for fireworks this year, and will top even Richmond.  He says that is because the event is all about community.

"We're the best kept secret," LaVigne says.  "We have a packed house every year. People have a great time every year.  So we must be doing something right."

The forumla is simple: food, live music and fireworks in a beautiful park on the shore of Cayuga Lake.  The Destination, which bills itself as 'Upstate New York's Premier R & B Band', is returning this year, and Dave Hatfield will be cooking what LaVigne calls "his world famous sausage, hamburgers and hotdogs."  Dennis Griffin is chairing the event.

This year for the first time both the Ithaca and Lansing events are scheduled for this coming Thursday (July 3rd starting at 6pm in Lansing).  But LaVigne says the more the merrier.

"I think there's room for everybody," he says.

The Lansing Community Council had kicked the idea of ending the Lansing Harbor Festival with fireworks, but felt it would be better as a separate event.  In 2011 Ithaca Fireworks organizers were not sure their event would take place.  The Lansing group decided the time was right to fill that gap, and when Ithaca was able to go forward with their fireworks at relatively the last moment, Lansing decided to go ahead anyhow. 

It was more successful than they imagined.  While the event itself was enjoyed by all, getting out of the park was a nightmare.  The Community Council addressed that in 2012 with a plan that gets everyone home within a much more reasonable timeframe.  After the fireworks Myers Road becomes a one-way street leading out of the park.  Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputies keep the road clear and traffic flowing.

"Last year we had everyone cleared out within an hour due to the great work of the bus drivers and the Sheriff's Deputies," LaVigne says.  "They'll be back this year.  We urge people that if they're going to go down to the park or to visit friends and neighbors they need to get there before we shut down the road.  That's critical.  We will have signs put up at every mailbox.  So if people are going to go down there to visit friends they need to get down there ahead of time."

Last year excessive rain caused flooding that limited parking in the park itself.  LaVigne says he is hoping this year will be dryer, but for those who want to park in Myers park he advises getting there early, before Myers Road is closed.  There will be plenty of handicapped parking.  The Lansing Varsity Football team will be parking cars in return for a donation for equipment for their team.

Once the park is full there will be no access on Myers Road except for the shuttle busses.  At that point anyone can park at the Lansing Schools and catch a shuttle bus to the park.  Despite the traffic issues, LaVigne says they have the system down to get people out in a reasonable amount of time, and that some people will want to stay for a while anyway to hear the band.

If you are travelling you'll miss the Lansing Fireworks, but you don't have to miss celebrating Independence Day. The Wallethub.com list pinpoints the best and the worst cities to see 4th of July fireworks.

In compiling their list WalletHub weighted Fourth of July Popularity 1 point, weather 3 points, price of a 3-star hotel 1 point, number of bars and restaurants 1 point, number of arts, entertainment & recreation establishments 1.5 points, walkability 2 points, traffic congestion 1 point, legality of fireworks 1 point, average beer and wine prices 1 point, average gas prices 1 point, acres of parkland per capita 1 point, swimming pools per capita 1 point, and basketball hoops per capita 1/2 point.

Last year the fireworks contractors moved the firing zone so it would not interfere with an active osprey nest on Salt Point.  While the view was spectacular from Myers heights and for boaters on the lake, some of the lower-fired fireworks were obstructed by trees  for those in Myers Park.

"There won't be as much ground show this year," LaVigne says.  "There will be more shots going higher in the air.  It should be the same length as last year.  We may extend it next year, depending on how much money we raise.  We still take donations at the door and we still taking donations for the Boom Board.  So people can make a donation and it is displayed on the board at the gate.

While the fireworks are free, the Lansing Fireworks and August's 'Celebrate Lansing' are paid for entirely by donations, both by sponsors and by participants who want to donate at the park entrance.  This year canned food may be donated at the gate for a Boy Scout food drive as well.  Sponsors are listed on the "Boom Board" which remains on display through September.

"Not one penny of taxpayer money pays for this," LaVigne says.  "We've rented the whole park, and paid the Town more than what they'd make for that one rental, so there is a surplus for the Town also.  We're very generous with the people around us because we don't want any negatives from this: this is all positives."