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Letter to the editor: Fair, Speedway cooperating over fireworks display

In response to Steve Eckman’s letter to the editor in Wednesday’s Jamestown Sun: For many years, the Fourth of July fireworks display was put on solely by Jamestown Speedway. It was the Speedway’s fireworks show, not a city- or community-sponsored show. The Speedway scheduled the date, contracted with the pyrotechnics company and paid for it all. In recent years, Jamestown Tourism has taken over the fireworks display using donations from businesses and the public to help cover the cost. Yes, it scheduled the display according to the Speedway’s schedule as the Speedway provided the venue, the insurance, the ambulance, the fire truck and contributed to the cost of the show. Last year, the Speedway scheduled a race on the Fourth of July which fell on a Thursday. The Speedway paid an extra $2,000 to have the fireworks on July 4 in addition to our normal contribution. You see, Jamestown Tourism pays for an $8,000 show. In order to have the fireworks on the Fourth, the pyrotechnic company requires a $10,000 show. The Speedway paid the difference.

Things are totally different this year. The Stutsman County Fair Association moved the dates of the fair back to the Fourth of July weekend. It is my understanding that due to their contract with Murphy Bros. Exposition, the Speedway is not allowed to race in the evening during the fair. The Jamestown Speedway races will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday and will be done around 7:30 p.m. The Speedway had to give up what was a good night for them and put on an afternoon race which is always problematic for the track. The fair recognizes the sacrifices the Speedway is making and has agreed to allow anyone holding an advanced ticket to the July 5 races free entry into the fairgrounds.

The Stutsman County Fair Association will be taking over the Speedway’s responsibility regarding the fireworks. The grandstand will be open to anyone who wants to sit there for the fireworks display. The show will start at approximately 10:45 p.m. or whenever the pyrotechnics professional decides the sky is dark enough.

Next year, the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday; so hopefully, the fair is able to schedule the fireworks for the actual Independence Day. I hope all businesses and individuals will see the benefit in contributing to the fireworks show by supporting the Stutsman County Fair and donating to Jamestown Tourism to help pay for the fireworks! And of course, I hope you will also support the efforts of the Jamestown Speedway by attending a race.

(Dieterle is a former promoter of Jamestown Speedway)