HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- On Tuesday, Riverfront Recapture announced that the annual July fireworks display in Hartford will no longer take place.
According to the president and CEO, the event has grown so much in attendance that it exceeds the capacity of the city parks.
“We are disappointed, as this is one of our most popular events, but the safety of our park visitors, and our parks, is paramount,” said Michael Zaleski, Riverfront Recapture’s President & CEO.
A press release said event patrons used to be able to see the fireworks from area parking lots years ago, but those are now occupied by new buildings and other attractions.
“We have had to admit to ourselves that we can no longer welcome tens of thousands of people to Mortensen Riverfront Plaza for a fireworks show on the river and ensure both good viewing and safe egress at the conclusion of the show,” said Zaleski. “There are times when tough choices have to be made, especially in light of the well-publicized recent cuts to our budget. It’s disappointing to lose a great fireworks show but we still have a robust year of events to come.”
The organization goes on to talk about safety when it comes to the fireworks display, explaining that state and federal regulations require a safety zone for the show.
The requirement meant that shells have to be fired from a barge in the river, south of downtown Hartford and north of the Charter Oak Bridge.
"It's a very popular event. Thousands have come over the years, we have a growing tree canopy and fewer places to watch the fireworks," Zaleski said.
The organization says money is also a factor. While many businesses have been generous over the years, they recently lost $650,000 in funding from the Metropolitan District Commission.
"Canceling it is very disappointing because it's always a highlight of my year, but if the capitol has to do what it has to do, and if you can't keep up with everything going on, you just can't do it," said Jack Powell.
Riverfront will still hold all of its other events, like a food truck festival in July.