City to ring in new year with a bang

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Fireworks display to become New Year’s Eve tradition

CUMBERLAND — Fireworks will be a part of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in downtown Cumberland, an addition that Councilwoman Nicole Wagoner calls a new tradition.

“We wanted to not only keep the ball drop and the community spirit alive that (retired downtown manager) Ed Mullaney brought out in all of us, but to add to it as well,” Wagoner said Wednesday morning.

Wagoner said that she and Councilman Nicholas Scarpelli went on a 48-hour fundraising blitz, including a Facebook effort, that resulted in about $7,000 in donations from 40 sources. The largest single cash donation was about $500, Wagoner said.

As the ball drops in New York City at Times Square, so does Cumberland’s version, bringing crowds in recent years to the corner of Baltimore and Liberty streets.

“The enthusiasm and buy-in from our community was unbelievable,” Wagoner said.

The fireworks will be launched from the bridge over Wills Creek on Baltimore Street, according to City Administrator Jeff Rhodes.

“People on the mall for the ball drop should be able to turn, look toward the bridge and see the fireworks,” Rhodes said.

Starfire Corp. of Carrolltown, Pa., will display the fireworks.

“The cost is $3,000, covered entirely by donations,” Rhodes said.

Money that remains will be used for the New Year’s Eve fireworks a year from now, according to Wagoner.

Cumberland Fire Marshal Shannon Adams said there are no problems with state fire regulations such as those that almost scuttled the Fourth of July fireworks this past summer.

“This display will use shells less than one inch and will go no further into the air than 80 feet, and that might be stretching it,” Adams said.

Adams said Starfire will not need a lot of setup time such as is required with a larger display.

“They just bring out the fireworks box. It already has a fuse,” Adams said. “Traffic across the bridge will be closed, but just for a short while. The display will last about five minutes.”

The required distance from buildings for this type of fireworks display is 100 feet, according to Adams.

“The Kensington (assisted living facility) is 130 feet away and the Times-News is 110 feet,” Adams said.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .