NORTH OGDEN -- For the first time in more than two decades, residents will watch the Cherry Days Fourth of July fireworks in North Ogden rather than at the Weber High School stadium.
The city council approved the change a few months ago and the city recently did test shoots at the new Barker Park site, and things are looking good, although the fire danger is a day-by-day decision, said city special event director Lorrie Frazier.
The fireworks will be set off in Lyman Barker's field, which is directly east and north of the park.
"Lyman Barker has been so good to work with in all of this," Frazier said, noting that Barker has cut and sprayed down his alfalfa to mitigate any fire danger. At the test shoot, employees were stationed at different parks all over town, and all could see the fireworks from all places, so Frazier feels that the change of venue will be a success.
At the recent city council meeting, Mayor Richard Harris said the fireworks at Barker Park are still planned for the Fourth and will be monitored by the fire department.
Northview Fire District Chief Lynn Froerer agreed, saying, "I feel confident that with the pre-plan we've conducted; we will have units placed in the most critical areas. This is a much larger landing area for the fireworks than at Weber High School. If in the event that we are unable to provide the coverage we've identified, due to any other emergency commitments, we may have to postpone until such resources are available. The wind velocity will be monitored and if it's unsafe we will not launch."
Frazier said the decision to bring the event back to North Ogden was made for a couple of reasons: The city will save up to $1,000 by not holding the event at Weber High School, and having the event right in North Ogden is meaningful to the city and the residents.
Cherry Days has changed over the years -- the city has paid as much as $60,000 for the event and held royalty pageants, but those are things of the past.
The traditions of the parade, the daylong celebration at the park, grand marshals, sporting events and fireworks are all intact and strong as ever, Frazier said.
Brian Russell, whose group, "Phil 'n' the Blanks" will perform at the event, said he thinks it will be a little more intimate for residents to enjoy the show at Barker Park, although it may be a bit crowded.
There won't be as much room to park, and there is not as much space as at the football field, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, he said.
Frazier is encouraging residents to enjoy the fireworks from Wadman Park or Oaklawn Park, both of which are only blocks away from where the fireworks will be ignited, just off Fruitland Drive and 2600 North. The show will also be broadcast on 92.1 FM.
Russell has helped organize a dance contest as part of the event and has helped organize daytime entertainment at North Ogden Park. A RAMP grant helped pay for his band and the daytime entertainment.
This year has the smallest amount of money -- $20,000 -- the city has ever put toward the Cherry Days celebration. The rest of the events are being sponsored by local businesses and events are being manned by volunteers.
All seven LDS stakes have different assignments, and other volunteer groups such as the Kiwanis and Youth Council have various jobs.
Russell has heard the announcements about volunteering at his church and knows the community is willing to help.
Next year the city has budgeted no money for the celebration, and Frazier and volunteers will solicit businesses and private donors for the whole event.
Russell plans to help organize a good volunteer effort to get donations.
For more information on events, times and locations visit the website at www.northogdenrecreation.com.