Organizers thrilled with fireworks eventPublished 6:10pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013
By Josh Bergeron
The Selma Times-Journal
A weather delay may have unearthed one of Selma’s greatest treasures.
Selma and county officials are singing the praises of this year’s Labor Day Fireworks Celebration after inclement weather forced the city’s Fourth of July celebration to be cancelled and rescheduled.
In previous years, fireworks displays were held at Memorial Stadium, but a bridge replacement project on Dallas Avenue near the stadium caused organizers to move the Labor Day event to the Historic Riverfront Park.
Selma Mayor George Evans said he was especially pleased with the viewing locations Riverfront Park, the downtown Selma venue for the fireworks celebration, offered.
“I am really happy with the way it turned out,” Evans said. “There were people in the park and on boats on the river. People could have even watched it from their porches.”
Vendors also gathered on Water Avenue in front of the Historic St. James Hotel, which benefitted tremendously from the celebration, hotel volunteer general manager Nancy Smith said.
“We had guests every night during the Labor Day weekend and hundreds of people in the hotel for Labor Day,” Smith said. “We have had people call and book rooms since the event. Some weekends are almost completely booked.”
During Labor Day weekend, 15 of the hotel’s 32 rooms were booked.
The St. James Hotel also invited county and city officials to view the fireworks from the hotel — an experience Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard said is worth repeating.
“The St. James Hotel is an excellent venue to view the fireworks from,” Ballard said. “I thought the fireworks celebration had a good turnout for such short notice. The stadium was an excellent venue, but I think the Riverfront Park offers a lot longer viewing area.”
And Monday may not be the last time fireworks blast off over the river.
Evans said he plans on organizing a similar event for next Labor Day, but is unsure of plans for Fourth of July.
“I know we will do a fireworks show on Labor Day next year because it went over so well,” he said. “The Fourth of July is a big day anywhere around the country, but people don’t really do a lot for Labor Day.”
Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce executive Director Sheryl Smedley said the Riverfront Park could be a valuable asset for the city.
“I think this celebration is proof investing in the Riverfront is a great idea,” Smedley said. “It is a great venue, but I think it would also bring people to Selma as well.”