50 thoughts on “Decatur 4th of July Washout”

  1. Does anyone about the fireworks as well? This would be very helpful information 🙂

  2. We are searching websites and weather.com…. anyone know if the fireworks are on tonight?

  3. The fireworks are supposed to start around 9 or so. If it’s raining, no fireworks/ keep an eye on downtown Decatur orln Twitter or Facebook.

    Watching the radar, our family has already made the no-go call. I hope it was the right call.

    1. Definitely thunder. The rain has started back up again too. I doubt they do any fireworks tonight.

  4. we just left our viewing spot about 10 minutes ago, can’t imagine they went off it was pouring

  5. Dear Decatur Metro:

    Thanks for being the only real source of information tonight. Next time you talk to the City Hall, you might encourage those folks to use this new “internet” thing. Prompt decision-making–and sharing those decisions via social media–would have been a big help to hundreds (thousands?) in terms of both safety and comfort. The two rainstorms both hit 15 minutes before scheduled events involving tons of people. As we all huddled over iphones wondering what was going on, I couldn’t help but think that a quick status update on Downtown Decatur’s Facebook page would’ve been a great boost. Word would have spread. People would have known that the parade and fireworks were “off.” And all would’ve sought dry, safe spots to ride out the Fourth.

    1. Not everything has to be done on a smartphone these days. Make an intelligent decision based on something other than your 2 inch screen.

      1. No one was asking for handholding, just a little guidance. The point is that the city has established certain outlets for communicating with citizens and fails to use them. Everyone made their own decisions based on the information they had.

        1. Did the fact that the City didn’t tweet, write a blog post or list an update on Facebook ruin your evening?

          Did you ever think that the City might have been in the same boat as the rest of us (trying to determine if the weather would cooperate)?

          Turn on the weather channel. Walk outside. Look at the sky. Make a decision.

          But please don’t blame it on the City.

            1. It sounded (to me) like you and others were criticizing the City — unfairly, IMO — for not keeping up-to-the-minute announcements going via electronic media, about whether or not the show would go on. Given the weather conditions, common sense would seem to dictate that (1) if they can safely go ahead, they will, (2) they won’t know until the very last minute, either way, and (3) if you really, really don’t want to risk missing the fireworks, no matter what, then stick around, otherwise go home.

              1. Criticism and blame have different meanings. I’m still waiting for an example of blame in this situation.

                Yes, I think people are criticizing the city for lack of communication. The last mention of the fireworks was posted on Downtown Decatur’s website on June 28:

                “Then get ready for the fireworks to go off at dark – usually between 9:15 and 9:30 depending on the weather.  We’ll let you know if we have to cancel b/c of thunderstorms but keep your fingers crossed that won’t happen. ”

                They said they would let us know and they didn’t they have multiple outlets to do that and didn’t use them.

                The city now says (on Facebook) that its events coordinator was in labor yesterday, that’s why she couldn’t update the status of the fireworks show. Understandable, however I think more than one person in the events office has access to the website to update it. If they don’t, then perhaps they should.

                No one is suggesting marching on city hall with pitchforks and lighted torches over this. I think it’s just a bit of friendly head scratching over what appears to be a lack of communication when a lot of people would have appreciated some guidance, even if it was just to say “We’re unsure at this point about the fireworks. We know it’s frustrating for you. Lightning is what’s going to make or break this.”

                I, for one, am done beating a dead horse. I look forward to the rescheduled fireworks in September, weather permitting.

                1. I have learned that if you contact your city or school officials directly, it’s a suggestion. If you write or email them, it’s constructive criticism. If you speak up at a public meeting, it’s a critique. If you mention the exact same thing on a blog, you’ll be accused of blame, persecution, unfairness, harpiedom. On the other hand, a lot of people will pay attention….. It’s a trade-off.

                  On this issue, I have to admit that I kept checking my emails, the city website, and this blog for updates. At the same time, my husband kept telling us “Look at it outside, of course the fireworks are cancelled!” (But he would have been wrong in Avondale or Lenox). In the end, calling the police non-emergency line did the trick. Now that I know that a key staff person was in labor, I’m even more satisfied with how things were handled, given the crazy circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that this thread doesn’t have some good suggestions for next time. It sounds like the easiest thing to do when things are changing moment to moment is tweet….but that means that I’ll have to learn whatever Twitter is!

                  1. If you vote in a local election, it’s direct action. If you don’t vote, it’s hollow complaining.

                    1. I think it’s fair to say that most DM bloggers vote religiously. I don’t believe I’ve ever missed one, not even the itty bitty ones where I scratch my head wondering what the heck some of the offices are. There’s probably some who wish DM bloggers voted LESS regularly!

  6. Does anyone know if they will reschedule the fireworks? Where will it be posted if they do???

  7. We bailed. But at least we had a great meal at Big Tex to show for the evening. Had the forethought to DVR the multitude of fireworks celebrations on TV and watching those with the family now.

    In the past, when the Decatur fireworks have been rained out, they rolled them over to coincide with the Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend, which is nice.

    Also, if Lenox was rained out, you can likely expect them to do the makeup in a week or two. So if you’re looking for an up side, now you have the opportunity to see two great fireworks shows instead of one.

    1. I’m not sure when the city will make up the fireworks this year, but it will not be part of the book festival.
      The logistics of each of those events is a challenge. It was hubris to try to put them together way back when, and overtaxed both festival and city resources. We’ll not try it again.

  8. What Iffer said… a couple of tweets or facebook posts would have been helpful. Yes, anyone know where they will post it if it’s rescheduled?

  9. What’s disappointing is that I checked Downtown Decatur’s FB and Twitter feed constantly from 8p on and there wasn’t so much as a peep…or tweet about rain plans. What’s the point of having those outlets if you don’t use them?

    1. Me too, Heather. Nothing but silence from the officials regarding the fireworks. I agree with Iffer – perhaps they need a demo of this “internet thing”.

  10. It was announced at the bandstand that the fireworks would take place over labor day weekend.

  11. Can we buy someone at city hall event planning a smartphone and get them an account on here?

  12. Just FYI: Decatur Police’s non-emergency phone line was very helpful as the decision evolved about the fireworks. First call around 9:00 PM: Fireworks still on so we all piled into the car and drove carefully around Decatur until we located a good car-watching spot. Second call around 9:15 PM: “Still on as far as we know”. So we alerted passengers that we had to be flexible. 9:30 PM: Last call confirmed what suspected by watching all the fleeing cars and people: Fireworks cancelled because of lightning. As we dropped off guests to homes, we saw some impromptu non-official (illegal?) fireworks over train tracks–not bad.

    We still think the most exciting fireworks of the day was the lightning around First Baptist Church at the parade start!

    1. So smart phones also make phone calls? I thought I could only use them for complaining that the city didn’t let me know that lightning and thunder would cause a cancellation of show.

  13. Props to DM for covering the fireworks and the storms. This is good local news and good local news coverage. The Decatur Patch site features a fluffy pet story this morning. Patch could have bumped the animal story and run something about the fireworks, lack of city communications, and plans for rescheduling.

    1. On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha
      You can listen to the engine moanin’ out it’s ONE NOTE SONG…

      1. LOL! LOG, I have to say (with apologies to David Cassidy): “Well I think I love you…”

      2. I know, but with so much material, it’s hard to resist temptation. And really, I know lots of notes. I just like to hold a good one for a while …

  14. Avondale had their fireworks as scheduled, and luckily, they were easily seen from the comfort of my front door! An impressive show, and the lightning mixed in with the colorful bursts added some drama too..

    1. I think the fireworks at Avondale went off a little earlier than scheduled, as it was not particularly dark. That was a good call, because the rain started up about halfway through the show. Somebody in AE was watching the radar.

    2. We went to the Avondale show and it surpassed our expectations. Luckily we had brought an old poncho to sit on – used it over our heads instead when the rain started. But kudos to Avondale for starting a bit earlier and giving some Decatur neighbors a great fireworks show.

  15. This is one more point in favor of a morning parade for Decatur. It’s hot at 6 PM and the time of day for storms. Got to admit though, we were no longer hot after getting soaking wet and shook up by lightning!

  16. I wonder if the City’s official plan changes were in a constant state of flux during the evening, making sure to balance advantages of going ahead with the fireworks as planned, against potential safety issues. I wonder if the weather was turbulent and unpredictable enough to offer real possibility of a window for shooting off the fireworks, but uncertain on a minute-by-minute basis. (I happened to be in the ‘hood right behind Lenox Sq from 6pm onward, and we were making bets all evening that those fireworks would get rained out….no, they’ll go as planned….no, it’s raining hard again….no, it’s gonna ease up…..They did go through with that show, BTW, in the pouring rain.) I wonder how people would have reacted if the City had used the Interwebs to say “the show will go on” and a little while later, “No, we’re postponing,” and a while later, “No, it looks like we’re on again…” and so forth. Because I’ll bet that’s what the decision tree looked like.

    It’s mid-summer in the deep south. People have been figuring out when to come in out of the rain since long before they could tweet about it.

    1. Thanks smalltowngal. You described the situation perfectly. No one wanted to do those fireworks more than we did. We were watching radar and looking for an opening. We did consider shooting them early but the gap in the rain wasn’t long enough to accomodate the length of our show. Our fireworks show isn’t as high tech (or as expensive) as the Lenox Show which is more than likely controlled by computers. Once the tubes for our low tech and (affordable) fireworks get wet, it isn’t safe for the fireworks technicians to continue with the show. If we had started the show just before the last downpour hit, we would have only gotten a small portion of the show completed before having to cancel it but believe me, we tried. There was also concern about lightening for folks attending the event as well as the fireworks technicians who were on the top of a parking deck. Yes, we could have done a better job of using technology to get the message out but we were juggling calls between emergency personnel, fireworks technicians and using technology to check for radar updates. It is certainly something that we will improve on next year. We hope you’ll plan to join us for the fireworks on Saturday, September 24th after the last Concert on the Square.

  17. For all of you aggrieved by the lack of both fireworks and updates via social media: the Decatur Facebook page answers all your questions. Rain date is 9/24.

  18. People need to check their twitter to see if it’s raining. You can’t write stuff this good.

  19. Wow – I think you beat that horse and then some…..

    Makes sense to me to check the weather – guess that’s just too simple. Oh what did we do before smart phones….common sense just has no place these days…

  20. You can learn a lot about people by listening to the things they complain about.

    1. It’s true! 🙂 I rarely miss a CSD post although sometimes Nelliebelle has to remind me. Despite having a job, friends, activities, reading, my kids are my passion. Others chime in on any transportation post; others on any political post. Most of us will complain about a restaurant if we don’t love the service or food. And I learned that I should never, never, never, suggest that brick ranches cannot be lovely homes or I’ll hear from PC or Deanne!

    2. I like to complain about the ubiquitousness of the reference for all distances: the football field.

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