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.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(15) comments

rick be

I used to enjoy the Courant forum where communicating was simple and things could be easily expounded upon.I still receive that rag to support the First Amendment.I'm thankful for Channel 3's contribution here since I can't see it on Antenna TV.


Luke, Luke use the force, use the force to launch the fireworks everyone wants them, don’t be a jerk and don’t tell us the city cannot afford them because you waste money all the time on things that the people do not need or want.

rick be

This event may actually be necessary for the Shooting Star's survival.

People see they can go there and get aware that they aren't gonna be gunned down.


Luke didn't cancel it, Riverfront Recapture did.


I was on the committee on the very first fireworks in Hartford when no one wanted to think this would work. I believed in this so much I used a week of my personal vacation to ensure this woudl happen! It was years before others believed it would be successful. It is sad to think that success is what killed this event. When is CT going to accept success as a good thing? This is why Hartford is destined to fail,

Brian C. Duffy

If you "believed in this so much" then why are you commenting here? I'm pretty sure if we found a record of the "very first" fireworks committee, the name 'CTYankee' would not be on it. You should call WFSB or the Courant and go on record with your feelings. You're just making stuff up otherwise.

Brian Duffy ~~ Tariffville, CT


Seriously? I have commented and called people trying to save this event. I have spoke with people over the years trying to get Hartford and Connecticut more present in tourism. We have so much to offer in Connecticut but we live in the Land of No. Sorry you find my comment here to be not true. No you would not find CTYankee on the meeting minutes. I prefer to keep my name out of the press for safety reasons; something of concern in these times. Perhaps you should also reach out to same.

rick be

This site can be confusing,but I believe you CTYankee.

Brian C. Duffy

The lame "safety" excuse. The reality is that anonymity allows you in this forum to freely criticize politicians and public figures without fear of being criticized or embarrassed yourself. How convenient. Such high standards and principles.

Brian Duffy


Last response. What have you done to make CT a better place? On what committee meetings would I find Brian C. Duffy on the agenda?


Don't interact with him, this bundle of sticks is just trying to bait you.

Brian C. Duffy

I've penned several letters to the editor, something you fear apparently. Search the Courant archives - use both Simsbury and Tariffville. You'll find I'm more pro Connecticut than you are. I'm verifiable and authentic. You're a ghost.

Brian Duffy

rick be

Luke better get off his butt and get this changed around.


Luke has nothing to do with this. It is Riverfront Recaptures thing. And, it is probably a way to drum up more money by selling tickets. It is a veiled attempt at a money grab.

rick be

I hope you are right,but you are very illogical on this matter.

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