SH fireworks show facing cancellation

Boaters are shown in South Haven’s harbor viewing the Light Up the Lake holiday fireworks show in 2018. High-water levels on Lake Michigan are causing waves to wash over the North and South piers continually, and could force cancellation of this year’s display.

SOUTH HAVEN — “Cross your fingers.”

That’s the advice South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette has suggested for people wondering whether Lake Michigan’s high water level will cancel the popular Light Up the Lake fireworks display that is scheduled for July 3.

City officials have been checking water levels each day along the Black River channel piers, where water continues to wash over on a regular basis.

Normally, the fireworks are shot off from the North Pier, but if the water continues to wash over the piers, the pyrotechnic display will be canceled.

“It won’t be a viable site for the mortars,” Dissette said. The mortars are used to hold fireworks as they are shot into the sky.

Another high-water problem affecting this year’s show is the erosion that has occurred along city beaches. Both North and South beaches, where many people watch the show, are a fraction of what they have been in recent years.

Light Up the Lake attracts an estimated 40,000-60,000 local residents and visitors each Fourth of July holiday, who come downtown to enjoy a musically choreographed fireworks show over Lake Michigan. One year, it was voted by WWMT TV viewers as the best fireworks display in West Michigan.

This year’s 15-minute display is expected to begin at 10:30 p.m., weather permitting. Because the town experiences a lot of boat and vehicle traffic the evening of the display, the Dyckman Avenue drawbridge will close to boats at 9:30 p.m., and reopen at 11:30 p.m. to let vessels through – a process that takes about 30 minutes, according to Dissette.

So far, $30,000 has been raised to fund the event.

“The total show costs $34,000, so we are hoping to see additional donations over the coming days,” Dissette said.

He’s also hoping the water levels will recede.

“A day in advance, we will announce whether the show will happen,” Dissette said. “We want to give as much notice as possible to the police and provide crowd control.”