Naples City Council voted unanimously Thursday to amend its contract with Zambelli Fireworks to conduct three fireworks shows through September 2024.
Typically, the city holds two annual fireworks celebrations, one on Independence Day and the other on New Year’s Eve. However, as the city prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary Dec. 1, it agreed to add an additional fireworks event on Dec. 2 to commemorate the milestone.
Given there would be two fireworks events in December, Council discussed whether to hold the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks event. Councilor Ted Blankenship said the holiday fireworks should remain since many locals have family visiting during that time.
“Lots of people have kids and grandkids in town for those holidays, and they love taking them to the beach to see the fireworks,” Blankenship said. “Hopefully we can find a way for the county or the [Tourist Development Council] fund to contribute toward those, because I think they also benefit. I think the businesses and hotels benefit from those holidays, people coming into town to visit, and I think county residents also often come to the fireworks too.”
Naples Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Chad Merritt said he’s hoping each event will cost about $65,000. The contract with Zambelli is for $107,500 for fireworks, and the city is expecting to spend no more than $150,000 on a barge for the three events. If the city decides to cancel any of the events, it still has to pay Zambelli half of the total cost.
Mayor Teresa Heitmann said past sponsors have helped fund the fireworks and city staff should seek sponsorships for the upcoming centennial event. Generally, the cost of the shows come out of the city’s beach fund.
Merritt said beach access should not be an issue by the time of the centennial fireworks show Dec. 2. The Fourth of July fireworks celebration in 2023 was canceled due to safety concerns, which yielded the idea of a centennial fireworks show at the end of the year.