This year’s 4th of July Fireworks show on the Arkansas River, Pops on the River, will be scaled back due to budget cuts with the event’s main sponsor. Instead of the traditional 30 minute firework show which featured over 15,000 large display fireworks, the show will have a more modest 7 minute and 12 second firework show featuring bottle rockets, fire crackers, and a grand finale of roman candles.
The main sponsor of this year’s show is once again the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Each year the main sponsor is responsible for the show’s largest expense, the fireworks. The fireworks cost typically is around $25,000, however after declining readership and the cost related to the failed experiment of giving away free newspapers, the organization had to make adjustments.
“We realized quickly that that we lacked the necessary resources to do this on the scale that we typically do,” says a spokesperson for the paper. “The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra does a fantastic job at this event, please go out and listen to them. If you all would just please buy our paper maybe we can do more, and maybe I could actually get paid to ask you to do more for once.”
As a part of their sponsorship the paper is contractually obligated to provide fireworks for the event. The paper has not commented on how far back they will scale this year’s fireworks. However, a local firework vendor in Bryant tells us that a representative of the paper came in over the weekend to buy 8 gross of whistler bottle rockets, 10 strings of firecrackers, and 6 multi colored roman candles. Sources tell us the roman candles are planned for the grand finale.
To compensate for the drastic reduction of fireworks the paper will share a one hour documentary of the greatest fireworks of all time that will be provided behind the paper’s paywall at ArkansasOnline.com.