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Decades-Old Fireworks Tradition to Continue

Legion Fireworks, Inc. is set to light up the Southeast skies Sunday.

Despite a decision from the Southeast Town Board to not fund this year's annual fireworks, the show will go on Sunday evening.

The music and fun is slated to start at 6 p.m. Sunday at . When the sun goes down, the fireworks will start.

Earlier this spring the Town Board voted down a proposal to transfer funds from the town's Metropolitan Transportation Authority account to the Recreation Department for a fireworks show, 3-2. According to Supervisor Michael Rights, the only difference between this weekend's display and those of previous years is that the former will be privately-funded.

As per tradition, Legion Fireworks owner and president Frank Coluccio confirmed that his company will be providing the entertainment. He said that Legion has lit up the Southeast skies for the annual celebration for more than 25 years.

"I can't remember when we didn't do a show in Brewster," Coluccio said. "There was only one year where the town chose another company, and after that, they came back to [Legion] and never left."

The Dutchess County-based company will shoot off fireworks at 32 other sites in the area this weekend. The show, which will last approximately 15 minutes, will be presented by two of Coluccio's staff members. 

"It usually takes about four hours to set up and about an hour and a half to break down and clean up," Coluccio said. "It's hard, heavy work."

But the biggest challenge for Legion? Rain. If the weather cooperates, the show should go on as usual — with a DJ and concessions.

Recreation Department Leader MaryAnne Gallipani said she and coworker Patricia Bohrman contacted the appropriate vendors and arranged for the contracts to reach Rights, at his request. She said it was Rights' responsibility to sign and send them back.

Rights identified himself — as well as a "few interested persons and businesses," including the Revive Southeast campaign — as contributors.

Councilman Bob Cullen said he and others felt it was not right to hold the show — which he estimated would cost between $8,000 and $10,000 — after laying off a handful of employees.

His main concern is that the Town does not end up with a bill. Rights told Patch on Tuesday that he expects Legion to be compensated by the time the show is over.

Town Attorney Willis Stephens did not respond to an email seeking comment on potential legal issues with a privately-funded show on public land.

Robert Cullen July 02, 2011 at 02:27 PM
the town board is still waiting from wednesday for a certificate of insurance naming the town of southeast in case someone gets hurt. as of today we have not received it. If we do not receive it, there will be no fireworks, sadly. Please email supervisor rights or councilman yee and ask them to get the certificate of coverage to our town attorney today. mrights@southeast-ny.gov and/or dyee@southeast-ny.gov Bob Cullen councilman, town of southeast rcullen@southeast-ny.gov
Southeaster July 04, 2011 at 03:09 AM
A big thank-you to Supervisor Michael Rights for working to keep this special tradition alive! The privately funded fireworks on July 3, 2011 were as beautiful as they are every year. It's sad that some board members wanted to deny residents the chance to celebrate our nation's birthday. It's a shame that some town workers have faced lay-offs, but so have many people in the private sector, and $8,000-10,000 doesn't cover a salary anyway. We have to prioritize traditions like the 4th, or else we lose part of what it means to be an American community. If it wasn't for Mr. Rights, we quite likely wouldn't have had a 4th of July celebration here in Southeast. He and the businesses who contributed deserve our thanks.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) July 06, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Thanks for your comments, Southeaster!

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