Hudson continues tradition

Carrie Petrick

Firework display all it’s cracked up to be

The Whitlock family from Stow enjoys the firework display in Hudson Saturday.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Once every summer, a stream of cars clog Barlow Road in Hudson. The passengers bring folding chairs, blankets and picnic food. Children wait in anticipation as the biggest public event in Hudson, the annual fireworks show, takes shape.

Ronald Call, a lifelong Hudson resident, has been coming to the display for years. He said he remembers coming in the early ’70s to see the fireworks go up by the Acme grocery store and then in later years by the Jo-Ann Fabrics plant. Now, fireworks go up from Barlow Farm Park.

The display is the biggest event held by the city each year, said Sean McAleese, detective sergeant for the Hudson Police Department. He said about 15,000 people show up annually.

“It’s not just a Hudson community event. We have people from all over,” McAleese said.

Three fire departments — Streetsboro, Boston Heights and Hudson — are on the scene to help with any problems that may occur because of the fireworks, he said. Despite these precautions, nothing has ever threatened the safety of the spectators.

“We never have a problem,” he said, and added that aside from a few lost children who safely make it back to their parents, no other incidents are ever reported from firework spectators.

A lot of safety preparation goes into the fireworks show, said Jerry Varnes, Hudson fire inspector. He said the Hudson Fire Department had been planning the event since February.

The fire department was particularly worried about the lack of rain a few days prior to the show, he said, because a few sparks from the fireworks can cause dry ground to become a fire hazard. The fire department set up a discharge perimeter, an area in which no one but trained pyrotechnicians are allowed, he said.

American Fireworks, located on Darrow Road in Hudson, puts on the show every year, Varnes said. They, along with Morgan Bank, sponsor a portion of the show for the city.

Karl Fraley, pyrotechnician for the Hudson show, said he grew up in the business. His father worked for American Fireworks and now his son is following in his footsteps. The Hudson fireworks display this year was his son’s first show.

It took American Fireworks between three and four days to design the show, Fraley said. The show consisted of more than 1,000 shots this year. The grand finale alone boasted about 500 shots, he said.

Contact general assignment reporter Carrie Petrick at [email protected].