For the first time in 174 years, fireworks will not light up La Crosse’s sky on July 4th.
For the first time in 174 years, with the exception of World War two, there won’t be fireworks shot from Pettibone Park on the 4th of July.
A tradition loved by many, won’t be happening this year.
“It puts a tear in my eye,” said Marty Schmal, Vice President of La Crosse Skyrockers.
Fourth of July fireworks have been put to a hault because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“It’s extraordinary times, so the loss of the fireworks is notable, but I guess there are worst things, right?” said Tyson Patros.
For the La Crosse Skyrockers, this event takes months of planning and today would’ve been set up day.
“I’ve been doing this for so many years that it doesn’t even feel right to come down here without the intent to try to light this place up in a couple days,” said Schmal.
Some La Crosse residents tried to offer solutions to the cancelled fireworks.
“Go up to Grandad’s and shoot them off up there, so they could, you know, curtail the people that would be able to be around the fireworks, but you could still see them in the sky,” said Bradley Holthaus.
But Schmal said, that alternative only solves one of the problems.
“The bluff is covered in mother nature, so to speak,” said Schmal.
He says the trees would block the view, and the risk for fire would be too high.
“We would love to do this for you. We shoot for the community, we don’t shoot for ourselves,” said Schmal. “I have to respect the wishes of my community leaders that have put forth the safety of the entire community.”
While the show won’t go on, Schmal says he’ll stay fond of memories he’s made with other skyrockers over the years. But this year he’ll really miss the fun and friendly banter.
“To sit with my team and talk about the year and talk about how things went well and maybe how things didn’t go so well and let’s start thinking about next year,” said Schmal.
According to the American Pyrotechnic Association, consumer fireworks sales for the holiday weekend have increased by 200-to-300 percent. So Schmal cautions those thinking of shooting off their own fireworks to be extra careful and safe.