Looks Like Mount Carmel Feast Fireworks Will Go On After All

Looks Like Mount Carmel Feast Fireworks Will Go On After All

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When word got out that the fireworks at Watertown's Mount Carmel Feast may not happen, people started asking questions and searching for solutions and it looks like there's a path forward.

"We're going to make sure this is safe, but yet still can proceed. I don't see any reason why it can't proceed," said Watertown City Manager Rick Finn.

It's a tradition that has spanned decades at the feast at St. Anthony's Church.

But this year, at the last moment, a safety issue was brought up, and city codes denied the fireworks permit because of the size of the fireworks shell and how close the show is to nearby neighbors. Now the answer may be smaller shells.

"There are smaller shells that they can use. They also can do ground work fireworks, things of that nature. So, they don't have to cancel the fireworks. They just have to work within the state code requirements," said Finn.

This was sparked by a problem with another city fireworks show last year, which prompted officials to look at all permits the city issues. Watertown Codes Supervisor Shawn McWayne says the issue with the church's permit wasn't noticed before.

There is one way the festival could still use the larger shelled fireworks it has already bought. Next door neighbors would all have to sign off and say it's okay. But if one person says no, there will be no permit. Having one person being able to control the festival's fate doesn't sit right with Council Member Lisa Ruggiero.

"That kind of bothered me because it didn't seem right that one person could decide a festival that affects thousands of festival-goers," she said.

Meanwhile, if the church has to change the shell size - or cancel the show - it could be out $3,000.

"Every penny counts in a small parish. To kind of pull the rug out from them so close to the event isn't right and I'd like to see the city do all that it can to make sure that this annual tradition happens," said Sarah Compo, council member. 

The pastor of St. Anthony's Church tells us the committee is working closely with state and city leaders to resolve the issue before the festival.

A decision should be made within the next week. The festival starts June 28.

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