Hartford, East Hartford douse Riverfest fireworks, festival - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford, East Hartford douse Riverfest fireworks, festival

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(riverfront.org photo) (riverfront.org photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Money woes have forced the cancellation of the Riverfest festival and fireworks show this summer.

The Fourth of July fireworks and all around festival have been a staple of the capital city for the past few years.

According to Riverfront Recapture, however, Hartford and East Hartford could not cover the costs of police and firefighters for the event, which is about $100,000.

Riverfront Recapture's cost for the event is $181,000. With public safety cost to host, the event is more than $300,000.

In a joined statement, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said "At a time when both of our municipalities are facing significant fiscal challenges and making painful reductions in expenditure, we cannot justify so substantial an expense for a single evening."

The fireworks show was originally scheduled for July 9 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and was touted on its website as being the largest Independence Day celebration in Connecticut.

The Riverfest Food Truck Festival remains on track for July 7, 8 and 9.

"We believe that Riverfest is a valuable regional event, and we are hopeful that, in future years, we will be able to raise sufficient support from the region and from private sources to continue an important tradition," the statement from both mayors said.

Hartford has had other out-of-budget expenses in 2016. Campaign stops by Bernie Sanders, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump cost the police department about $60,000.

As far as next year goes, Bronin said he hopes the tradition of Riverfest can be brought back through raising money from the region and private sources.

Businesses in Hartford could be impacted, as the crowd won't be in the city the day of the scheduled festival.

"We would look at, over a normal day, we would look at a 30 percent increase in business," said City Steam Brewery Manager Chris Leonard.

He said he already had a plan in place for the day, along with extra staff scheduled, but now they're no longer needed.

"We will have to take some people off the schedule, so yeah its a little bit of a downer we won't get that extra pop that day, we have to wait till next year to get the money back," Leonard said.

To see more fireworks displays happening around the state, click here.

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