Downtown Selma to be home of Labor Day fireworks showPublished 10:39pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013
By Josh Bergeron
The Selma Times-Journal
Selma residents can enjoy Fourth of July fireworks in a different location and on a different date this year.
Organizers moved the celebration to Labor Day, Sept. 2, after inclement weather forced city and county officials to cancel the fireworks display.
The Fourth of July celebration normally takes place at Bloch Park, but Ward 4 Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said construction on the Dallas Avenue bridge over Valley Creek forced a relocation.
“This time is the first I can remember that we will have fireworks on the river,” Benjamin said. “I am incredibly excited. I think the fireworks over the river will be spectacular.”
The celebration will use $15,000 in fireworks previously purchased for the Fourth of July celebration, Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard estimated.
The city of Selma and the Dallas County Commission split the cost of the fireworks, Ballard said.
The Labor Day celebration also includes a block party on Water Avenue, in front of the historic St. James Hotel. The block party will include vendors, games and music. Vendors will be charged $50 for a permit to sell merchandise.
Selma Chief of Police William Riley said the block party area would cause the closure of Water Avenue from Washington to Franklin streets to traffic.
“The biggest challenge will be finding parking downtown,” Riley said. “Even though it is a downtown area, there is a pretty good amount of parking.”
Residents will not be charged admission to the block party or the fireworks show, but Benjamin stressed that residents should bring their own chairs or blankets.
Ballard said Selma residents and visitors could also watch the fireworks from a boat on the Alabama River.
“The Coast Guard didn’t see any reason not to let people on the water,” Ballard said. “I think it is going to be fine if people are interested.”
Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce executive director Sheryl Smedley said the state fire marshal has already given the city approval for the site.
Selma officials also expressed excitement about potential business the celebration may bring downtown.
“During the Fourth of July, almost every little town has a fireworks display,” Ballard said. “I don’t think anywhere else will have one on Labor Day. I think it will generate some sales tax revenue for the city.”