Fayetteville A&P considers Fourth of July fireworks display for 2019

The Advertising and Promotion Commission will explore ways to bring a public Fourth of July fireworks display back to Fayetteville in 2019.

The last major public Independence Day fireworks display in town was the Freedom Fireworks event at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in 2015.

Members discussed the idea during the commission’s regular meeting on Monday in the Fayetteville Town Center.

The resolution, brought forward by commissioner Todd Martin, simply asked for the group’s support for the proposal. It will be up to executive director Molly Rawn and her Experience Fayetteville staff to explore, plan and budget for the display.

“One of the things I’m kind of passionate about and I’ve seen that the city of Fayetteville is missing is a civic pride display with fireworks,” said Martin, who was appointed to the commission in mid-2017, and is the owner of Southern Food Company. “It has always been an important aspect in towns I’ve lived in previously, and I’ve seen towns our size put on phenomenal community events with fireworks.”

Martin said there are many fireworks displays put on consistently throughout the region, but none left in Fayetteville.

A Fayetteville Flyer report in 2017 showed there were at least 18 fireworks displays in Northwest Arkansas in late June and early July. According to the report, displays were produced in Alma, Bella Vista, Bentonville, Centerton, Prairie Grove, Elkins, Farmington, Garfield, Gentry, Pea Ridge, Rogers, Siloam Springs and Springdale.

“We’re getting named as this great place to live in the country, and (the lack of a display) seems like a real miss to me,” said Martin.

With this year’s holiday only six weeks away, Martin said he knows it’s too late to plan for a display in 2018.

“I don’t have a concrete proposal, and of course, locations have got to be vetted so it’s something that will take some time,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of work to do…but this puts it in the planning process.”

Commission chair Matthew Petty said there are several ways the display could be produced, all of which are worth exploring.

“It may be that we pay a provider, it may be that someone solicits us with a proposal, or it may be something that we participate in or lead in a more direct way,” said Petty.