4 fireworks shows are cancelled on Hatteras and Ocracoke
regulations coupled with lack of funding and a host of other factors
have led to the cancellation of all three of the July 4 fireworks
displays on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
In past year, there have been fireworks shows in Ocracoke, Hatteras
village, and Avon.
"As far as I know we are not having any fireworks," said Rudy Austin,
president of the Ocracoke Business and Civic Association.
Austin said that the Ocracoke fireworks were not cancelled because of
an explosion on July 4 of last year that killed four people and badly
injured another. The dead and injured were contractors for a
company that stages fireworks, and they were preparing for the annual
show near the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching
complex near the ferry docks in the village.
Austin said that there is construction in the area on the NCCAT
property this year and that there was not another site suitable for the
He also noted that the cost of the fireworks were a concern, as were
the new regulations that require all of the people, including local
volunteers, who are involved receive special training.
The new regulations were approved by the North Carolina General
Assembly after last year's July 4 tragedy on Ocracoke.
A day-long series of events are traditional on July 4 on Ocracoke,
including the Old Time Parade through the villages.
“The other events will go on,” Austin said, “the
association is exploring having another event on the evening of July 4
to replace the fireworks.”
On Hatteras Island, while there may be other festivities to celebrate
the holiday, there will be no fireworks displays in Hatteras village or
Dennis Robinson, president of the Hatteras Village Civic Association,
which organizes and pays for the Hatteras village fireworks, said the
association’s board made a decision in February to cancel this
“We have cancelled our show,” said Robinson. “We had
the fire company explain all the new regulations and give us an
overview and a timeline, such as when the class and training could be
and how long it would take to get the necessary permits after that. We
reviewed this information and also talked about the money aspect and
the liability, and the board came to the consensus not to have the show
“It’s just for this year, and we will revisit it again for
upcoming years” he said. “We’re also investigating
possible other events and entertainment for the Fourth of July.”
Robinson also added that the National Park Service was willing to work
with the Hatteras Civic Association in the annual launching of
fireworks off of Ramp 55 in Hatteras village.
“Steve Thompson, particularly, was willing to work with us
in getting the permits to shoot them off the beach,” said
Robinson. The committee did not have a chance to discuss with the Park
Service the test shootings off the beach that would be required under
the new regulations.
On Friday, April 9, Kenny Brite, director of the Avon fireworks for 13
years, announced that Avon would be unable to have its annual fireworks
display as well.
The new restrictions call for a training seminar immediately followed
by a test administered by a state fire marshal representative, which
includes a test launch of the fireworks. The seminar and class are
required for all volunteers handling the fireworks. After months of
trying to line up the necessary training seminar and test locally,
Brite announced that Avon would be unable to complete the training.
Brite worked diligently with Steve Thompson of the National Park
Service, who distributes the special use permits, and David Troutman of
Pyro Shows, Inc., which provides the fireworks and helps local
fireworks displays get certified. Brite noted that both parties did
everything they could to help Avon carry on as scheduled, but a number
of factors led to the cancellation.
A class and testing session were lined up for volunteers at the Avon
Fire Station, but in the end, the Park Service was unable to issue a
special use permit for the required test launch on the beach under the
local law banning all fireworks on Hatteras Island.
An alternative class in New Bern was discussed, but it was extremely
difficult logistically to send all volunteers (12 to 15 needed in Avon
alone) to a class in another part of the state. In addition, the months
of uncertainty about whether the fireworks would even be feasible led
to a delay in normal fundraising operations, and it was not clear
whether appropriate funds to pay for the display could be generated.
It appears that the closest fireworks display for island residents and
visitors will be in Manteo, where the annual show is still scheduled.
Information: Fireworks are illegal on Hatteras and Ocracoke
Residents of and visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke should be aware that
all fireworks – including sparklers – are illegal on
Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Also, the National Park
prohibits fireworks on all of the seashore beaches.