The Flagler Beach City Commission will approve a three-year, $94,000 deal with My Three Sons, the fireworks company, to produce New Year’s Eve fireworks through 2026, assuming there’s a place from where to set them off. The deal stems from last New Year’s Eve fireworks display, the first in the city on that date, which My Three Sons produced to local acclaim.
“I would love to have fireworks for the next three New Year’s Eve. I would also like to think about having fireworks on July 4. Lots is going to depend on whether we have a pier or not,” Commissioner Jane Mealy said. She wants to see Independence Day fireworks return to Flagler Beach, where July 4 skies have been dark since 2019.
That’s not going to happen this year, City Manager Dale Martin said, since the pier is to be demolished. He’s not ruling out July 4 displays in future years, though for now commissioners, with Mealy’s exception, are not clamoring for bring them back just yet. July 4 fireworks for the past couple of years have been a joint venture led by Palm Coast with county government at the county airport, with a $10,000 contribution from Flagler Beach. “Somehow being at the airport didn’t do it for me,” Mealy said.
But the rapidly put together and well received New Year’s production, which included the countdown drop of a lit up and giant surf board in Flagler Beach’s Veterans Park almost a month ago, changed the dynamic of expectations in the city by both lessening the pressure for July 4 displays and heightening it for New Year’s Eve.
“It’s about New Year’s Eve for three years. It’s not to the to the exclusion of July 4,” Commissioner Scott Spradley said of the proposed deal with My Three Sons. “As far as the New Year’s Eve fireworks event, I’ve been here in town for about 20 years and I’ve never had any event put on by the city, no matter how good, that doesn’t have some amount of negative comments, or no matter how bad, that doesn’t have some amount of positive comments–until the New Year’s even fireworks in which everyone that I spoke with who had a role in it or saw it or heard about it was extraordinarily positive about it. And so I support the contract. And for me in supporting it I’m not expressing a view on July 4. We get to that we get to July 4.” (See: “Flagler Beach’s New Year’s Fireworks Celebration Draws 500 People and Hula Hoops of Raves.”)
Martin worked out the three-year deal with Josh Hite, owner of the Boynton Beach-based company, with this coming new Year’s Eve display priced at $30,000, rising toi $31,400 the following year, then $33,000 the third year. Each show would be 12 minutes long. It remains unclear where the display would be set off if there is no pier next December, though a portion of the old pier structure is to be preserved.
So Commission Chairman Eric Cooley wanted a cancellation or escape clause from the contract. “Based on the unpredictability of everything that we have going on, it would behoove us to put a escape clause into this contract,” he said. “Just to protect ourselves.”
That escape clause would be in the form of a 30-day written notice to cancel, or a roll-over to the following year. For example, if the city can’t use the pier, that year’s event would be pushed to the following year. The proposal was ready for the commission’s approval Thursday evening, but since there was no urgency, commissioners asked that the contract be rewritten to reflect the escape clause. City Attorney Drew Smith will rewrite the contract and submit it at a subsequent meeting of the commission.
“There’s a lot of hidden charges that we don’t know about, that I think the public should be aware of,” former City Commissioner Ken Bryan told the commission. “You don’t have the public safety issues, traffic issues, all these kinds of things in here. So the contract itself might be $30,000. But when you crank in all the other things, you may be looking at $50, $60, $70,000. So I think that the public should be aware of that full transparency in order to know how many dollars go into that.
Cooley suggested a future agenda item to discuss the cost and benefits of the new Year’s Eve event in light of Bryan’s suggestion “for our own education, the public’s awareness and everything,” he said, to calculate expenses–including fire and safety–and hear feedback from those involved. Martin suggested incorporating the information in his manager’s report, which only circulates within the administration and among commissioners. “To do it just as a report would probably miss the mark,” Cooley said, pressing for a public discussion and input.flagler-beach-fireworks-three-years-sons