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5 Fourth of July Fireworks Displays That Reach Booming Costs


Despite the rocky economy, the show will go on in these five cities.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL As the economy continues to look less than ideal, many looked to July with high hopes. Yet the spending increase anticipated by retailers that normally precedes the Fourth of July has not yet occurred. In an article for ABC News, Hadley Malcolm writes that, "After 9/11, political leaders and commentators had a suggestion to boost American spirits and fuel patriotism: Go shopping. This Fourth of July, more Americans are doing the opposite: barbecuing instead of buying." Yet there is one area where the Fourth of July market has stayed strong: spending on spectacular fireworks shows. Here's a look at the top-5 most expensive events.

New York
The Macy's Fourth of July firework display in New York City has upped the ante for competing cities for the best firework display of 2012. In an article for Fox Business, Travers Korch writes, "Given the number of shells in the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, its estimated cost is nothing short of its namesake. Even at wholesale rates, the cost could be almost $6 million for the fireworks alone. That's a lot of buck for the bang."

In addition to spending 6 million on the display, the event organizers have hired country artist, Kenny Chesney, and pop sensation Katy Perry to serenade the crowd expected to gather on the Hudson River. NBC -- jointly owned by GE (GE) and Comcast (CMCSA) -- holds broadcasting rights for the event.
Watch out, New York, you have competition. Philadelphia will host its annual firework display on The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is free to the public and expects upwards of 500,000 people – which means, get there early. While its cost is not over 6 million dollars, it is presumed to be greater or equal to $2.1 million, and it lasts for 15 minutes.

Yet the fireworks are only part of the main attraction and only part of the cost. Proceeding the display is a celebrity-filled free concert that this year will feature famous artists such as Queen Latifah, Common, and Joe Jonas.
Washington, DC
DC may not win in the category of most money spent on fireworks, or in the category of famous singers and artists, but it does win in location. The show encompasses 33 tons of fireworks and an 18-minute show that anticipates a crowd of at least 500,000 spectators each year.

Regarding costs, Washington has a few extra bucks to spend that have little to do with fireworks, and more to do with the venue in which the fireworks are lit. "Throughout the yearlong planning process, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Aviation Administration, Secret Service, DC fire and police departments, National Parks Service and its police department, and PBS all coordinate with Pyro Shows to turn over every possible stone of safety, legislation and presentation," says Fox Business' Korch. A lengthy series of hoops that no other firework show has to jump through.

But it is worth it. The fireworks are set against a backdrop of the DC skyline that features the Washington Monument and the Capital Building as its main stars. The view of DC not only adds to the beauty of the display but is the idyllic spot to celebrate the birth of our country. PBS will broadcast the show.
"Boston's show is easily one of the most well known, and, at $2.5 million for the entire show, one of the most expensive," said Rebecca Ballhaus in her article for AOL Travel.

Not only is Boston one of the longer shows, at 21 minutes, and one of the more impressive, exploding over 20,000 pounds of fire works, it's also hosted on the Charles River, in Boston, MA, the home to the original revolution.
Perhaps the most awaited Fourth of July event is Seattle's Family 4th Celebration. In 2010, the events main backer, Washington Mutual, collapsed, and was unable to fund the show. In response, a local radio host named Tom Douglas launched a radio campaign to help bring the event back. Pledges for the cause totaled $503,000, and the 2010 show did, in fact, go on. With the help of the fundraising, Seattle was able to purchase 10,000 fireworks for their display, and attracted an audience of approximately 50,000 people.

This year, Starbucks (SBUX) is the main sponsor of the show, but Seattle is still asking for donations.

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