Everyone loves fireworks or so I used to think. We know animals don’t. I have now been reminded that some veterans suffering from PTSD do not like them either. Both of these factors should be considered in next year’s decision.

As for this year, the decision not to have fireworks was mostly financial – but not entirely. When I first came into office in 2015, the cost for a fireworks show was about $3,500, plus a local technician who set them off usually charged an additional 10% for his fee. In about 2017, a new state law required that not one, but two certified pyrotechnic shooters be on hand during the fireworks display. That year, the local shooter said it would be his last. Like everything else, the cost had increased to $5,500 by 2019. Knowing the majority want and expect fireworks, the Town had continued to deliver Fourth of July fireworks until 2020.

Now for the rest of the story.

The fireworks company the Town was using required that a contract be signed in January for fireworks in July. In 2020, the beginning of a new decade, and expecting more requests for fireworks, the company said there was a minimum fee of $10,000, and I said “no-way.” As it turned out, Covid-19 changed things and about May 2020 the company had back-peddled an would have done the show for a lesser price. Under last year’s circumstance, I passed on the offer. Again, in January 2021, no one knew what would be happening by July 4, and I passed again.

BTW, some of the local fireworks may have been just as good. Looking to July 2022, I want to plan to have fireworks, but if the price remains at $10,000, Marlinton may have to look to local fundraising to cover the cost.

From the “old grey mayor’s” perspective, every time a display explodes, I wonder how much it cost? By the end of the show, I am thinking the money spent could have been playground equipment, picnic tables and new trash containers – or more than a good down-payment on a vehicle. Let me know what you think at townofmarlinton@frontiernet.net or on Facebook at

Mayor Sam Felton.

Special thanks to Roy Lee and Susie Landis and Angel Wilkinson for Monday’s mowing, trimming and cleaning around town. You made a big difference.