MT. JULIET – Though the Mt. Juliet fireworks display fizzled on the Fourth of July, a record crowd arrived Friday to see the postponed show.
For the second time in the history of the city’s fireworks display, inclement weather forced officials to postpone the annual event until the next evening. It was a last-minute decision that had orchestrators of the event erring on the side of caution.
But the sky above Mt. Juliet exploded Friday night with color the day after Independence Day as thousands descended upon the city to celebrate the nation's birthday.
By 9 p.m., the weather cooperated, and the show commenced with a crowd estimated at 25,000. The crowd spread out over south Mt. Juliet to see the colorful display that lasted about 35 minutes. Tom Needham, of Needham’s nursery, who orchestrates the show, said this year there were more fireworks than ever before. The city budgeted $25,000 for the display some say rivals Nashville's. Needham kicked in another $10,000.
The Jordan family gathered in a church parking lot on Pleasant Grove Road. They sat in chairs and enjoyed the display.
"I'm glad the rain held off," said Beverly Jordan. "We were watching the weather radar all day."
Her grandson, Sam Fuller, said it was the best fireworks show he'd ever seen.
Police Chief James Hambrick said the traffic plan worked well because the spectators weren't as concentrated to one area as in years pas.
Some of the more spectacular fireworks included those called dahlias, smiley faces, comets, stars and rings. The finale dazed with $5,000 worth of fireworks in a matter of a minute.
This annual fireworks display lures throngs of citizens intent on building community spirit in a collective salute to independence, said Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenneth Martin. He said most of the $25,000 the city spent was collected from fees the city charges fireworks tent vendors.
"We have so many patronize the city on this night," he said. "It's an opportunity to say who and what we are about and how we love our country. It's awesome to be an American."