"I always like to see that it makes people happy," Griffin says. "It brings the community together. I've been told by several people they get to see someone they haven't seen all year. All of a sudden they're sitting there enjoying the music and the fireworks. They've had a nice evening. That's what I want - that everybody has fun and nobody gets hurt, and everybody goes away enjoying the evening."
The event starts at 6pm. The Destination, a R&B, Latin, Swing and Funk/Disco band, will play in the bandstand from 6:30 to 10pm, after which the fireworks go off. Afterward, Little Joe and the Big Shots (The Destination's rhythm section) will play red, white and blue Rock 'n Roll until 11pm.
"Destination is a wonderful band," Griffin says. "It's an eight piece band that plays oldies and new songs. It's nice for older people and nice for the younger people. I've been at several of their concerts where you want to get up and boogie."
Food will be available from Dave Hatfield, renowned in Lansing for his chicken barbecue. He'll have hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, chips, and soda for sale.
In its first year response to the event was much greater than anticipated, resulting in a huge traffic jam after the fireworks. Last year improvements were made with the help of the Tompkins County Sheriff's Department and local volunteers. Griffin says more lessons were learned last year, and this year leaving the event should be even more orderly. He says about 3000 people attended last year.
While Independence Day celebrators fill Myers Park the fireworks are actually fired from adjoining Salt Point to separate them from the public. This year presents a special challenge, because ospreys have taken up residence in a new nesting platform quite close to where the fireworks were launched. Griffen says the Community Council wants to make sure the birds are not disturbed. He consulted with a scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who told him the original launching site would probably not disturb the birds. But Griffen is moving the launch site farther from the nest just to make sure.
"When that came to my attention committee members went down to look at it," he says. "We're going to move it thirty to a hundred feet away on a gravel area about midway between the entrance to the point and the waterfront, toward the north, still on Salt Point."
Typically Salt Point is closed after dark, but it will be closed for the duration of the event for safety starting at 6pm. Griffen says signs will be posted and people will be asked to leave the point to separate prior to closing the area.
The Lansing Football team will help with parking in exchange for a donation to their team for equipment and expenses. The team also helps with parking at the Lansing Harbor Festival each year.
Parking will be permitted in the park only until 8pm, after which parking will be in the Lansing school campus. Myers Road will be closed after 8, but busses will be provided to bring people to the park. After the fireworks busses will be parked on Myers Road ready to take people back to their cars. The eastern portion of Myers Road will be one way to provide two lanes to Ridge Road and the schools. Sheriff's Deputies will help control traffic and provide security.
"It went better than I had planned," Griffin says. "We did find some glitches. As a result we're talking to a gentleman about lighting the park entrance because it will make it easier for pedestrians coming out. We have to think of safety at all times."