Responding to the concerns of New Paltz residents, Town Supervisor Neil Bettez said last Thursday that his comment about removing references to Independence Day from this year’s town fireworks display — scheduled for Friday, June 30 — because it won’t even be held in the same month were a “tongue-in-cheek” response to this reporter’s not infrequent questions about scheduling it on the Fourth of July, which is always a holiday, and last year was even on a weekend. Town officials believe the mini-furor was incited by the headline, “New Paltz sets date for fireworks, scraps reference to Independence Day.”
Despite deep political divisions, Josh Honig told board members, “85% surveyed are proud to be American.” Honig oversaw the fireworks for some years, and acknowledged that he himself avoided the actual holiday due to cost concerns. He felt stripping it of the name would “delegitimize” efforts to push back against federal agenda items, although he also stressed that the fireworks themselves should be apolitical.
Mayor Tim Rogers, on hand for a joint meeting, called the online headline “clickbait.”