Brookings displays fireworks despite cancellation of Uncle Sam Jam Festival

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls wasn’t the only city with a fireworks display. Many other communities, including Brookings, had one of their own.

Even though the Uncle Sam Jam Festival was cancelled, the Swiftel Center and Brookings Fire Department still hosted a fireworks display this year.

“We just decided that it probably wasn’t the right thing to do this year,” Swiftel Center executive director Tom Richter said. “But the City and the County of Brookings were given enough funds to be able to do the firework portion of the festival, so we’re not going to do the Uncle Sam Jam festival at all, but we will do the fireworks.”

The fireworks are typically part of the festival. Brookings Fire Department Deputy Chief Pete Bolzer, who has been in charge of the fireworks show for over 18 years, said the show will not cater to an up-close audience this year, but rather an audience that can watch from all around town.

“Back then it wasn’t a close-up and personal thing,” Bolzer said. “Everybody sat in their cars in various areas and watched the fireworks. And that’s kind of what I fell back on this year was going to 20 years ago.”

Bolzer gave a preview of the show.

“It’s actually going to be a real spectacular show,” he said. “It’s actually the most shots we’ve ever had. There’s going to be around 2,500 shots in the air and depending upon our humidity and how it effects our atmospheric conditions, some of the colors that we’re going to be dealing with this year are going to be very vivid and striking colors.”

Fireworks, of course, are a big part of the Fourth of July.

“As a South Dakotan and American, if we didn’t have fireworks on the Fourth of July, I don’t know what we would do,” Bolzer said.

“It’s the birthday of our county and it is something that we as Americans, should celebrate. We’re very happy and proud that we were able to do that for tonight,” Richter said.

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