Fireworks 2019-2.JPG (copy)

Crowds gather on July 4, 2019, on the Boardwalk to watch fireworks. The show marked the last time the city hosted a large fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

More options provided to prevent cancelations

Attempts to ensure fireworks will light up Ocean City skies on July 4 and New Year’s Eve for the next three years are officially underway.

After suffering from a consecutive run of bad luck over the last three years when it came to pulling off holiday shows, resort officials took a different approach with bid requests this year and viewed the fruits of their labor at a work session Tuesday.

Councilman Tony DeLuca, who serves as council secretary, opened bids from three companies for various contracts to host shows for 2023 through 2025.

Special Events Director Frank Miller prefaced that the totals may vary, as bidders were given several response options.

Six locations were listed on the bid documents, three for each holiday.

On July 4, the locations listed were the beach, Northside Park pier and an alternative spot at the park. On New Year’s Eve, the locations were all at Northside Park, but broken down into the pier and two separate alternate locations.

City Manager Terry McGean has said that some company officials have expressed concerns about setting off fireworks from the pier at Northside Park, which prompted the alternate options.

According to the bid document, companies had the option to bid one location or all, or a combination of spots along the alternate sites. It also said city officials could decide to award separate contracts for each site.

Because of the parameters, the bids varied significantly in price.

The first, from Pennsylvania-based Celebration Fireworks, came in at $357,000. The second from Pyrotechnico FX was for $138,915, with several items called out as “no bids.” The third from Digital Lighting out of Gaithersburg was for $83,000, and only included 2023.

Council members voted to remand the bids to staff for review and evaluation.

Ocean City is bidding its fireworks contracts for the third time in three years. After canceling the shows in 2020 due to covid, the Fourth of July fireworks were all ready for 2021 when a firework prematurely went off the morning of the holiday during setup on the beach, forcing cancelations. Officials re-bid the contract in April, but were forced to cut ties with the provider after they canceled the shows due to staffing issues just a couple of weeks before the Fourth of July.

Each of the last two contractors had bid the jobs out for three years. With this year’s bids, officials opted to give more options as a safeguard against unforeseen circumstances, and to ensure the shows go on.

This story appears in the Nov. 4, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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