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Cost-cutting forces Spirit of Princeton’s Fourth of July fireworks show to go up in smoke

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The Spirit of Princeton is not having an Independence Day fireworks show, the head of the organization told the Princeton Council on Monday about the cost-cutting move.
Ray Wadsworth, the chairman of Spirit of Princeton, said that at a cost of close to $20,000, the show was the committee’s biggest expense.
In an interview outside the council meeting room, Mr. Wadsworth said that if the Spirit of Princeton continued having the show, its endowment would be depleted in five years. He said “big donors” to the committee had indicated that there are other fireworks shows in the area around the same time, including one that Princeton University has during its annual Reunions celebration.
For his part, Mr. Wadsworth said that the other patriotic events Spirit of Princeton has were more important. Those include a Memorial Day parade on May 28, a Flag Day service on June 14 and a Veterans Day service on Nov. 11.
“These events are some of the things that really make Princeton Princeton,” Mayor Liz Lempert told him during the meeting. “I think we’re all sad about the fireworks, but the parade is one of my very favorite events of the whole entire year.”
Families had been going to the university campus to watch the Spirit of Princeton fireworks show, with the school opening Clarke Field to the public. Now those same people will have to go somewhere else, although Mr. Wadsworth said there are local options.
“A lot of times,” he said, “Mercer County Park has theirs (fireworks show) at that same time, and that draws our crowd or our crowd draws theirs.”

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