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Charlottesville readies for fireworks, Fourth

The city of Charlottesville is gearing up for the fireworks and fun of this upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

The main event will be a fireworks display Sunday at about 9:15 at McIntire Park.

City fire officials will "have a fire apparatus on stand by," Battalion Chief Charles Werner said.

Werner said personal fireworks are not allowed in the city by law because "buildings are so close together there is a danger of fire spreading within the city."

He said the fire station officials "recommend highly [citizens] go to the public display of fireworks."

Also of concern are the dangers of hand held sparklers, he added.

"People don't understand sparklers cause most injuries to children," Werner said.

He said that in 1992 there were 25,500 incidents involving fireworks in the United States which "injured 103 civilians and caused $33.4 million in property damage."

However, the city police are not going to vary their regular service, Sgt. F. G. Upman said.

The city police will be "on our toes and have the same amount of crew working--we'll be doing our normal thing," Upman said.

The University hospital is another service that will not be calling in extra help for the holiday.

"We are always adequately staffed and able to care for people," University Emergency Medicine Dept. Dr. William Brady said.

Injuries that occur this time of year, such as heat exhaustion, come not only from fireworks, but are also "related to people going out and celebrating," Brady said.

He said that Fourth of July injuries usually include minor burns and eye injuries in children.

Charlottesville Mayor Virginia Daugherty said the fireworks are the city's main Fourth of July event.

"We don't really have ceremonies, we just have fireworks--that's our only city event, but it's a pretty big deal," Daugherty said. "People come all around the park area--hundreds of people come to see it--it's a good display."

Fourth of July project Co-Chair Libby Edwards said the show this year will cost $5,000 and is sponsored by the Jaycees of Charlottesville.

Edwards said the money is raised through "fund raisers, community donations and business sponsorship."

Kroger, Allied Concrete and Tucker, Griffin and Barnes are the main sponsors of this year's show, she said.

"The city lets us use the park, and has for 26 years, and they provide police officers and fire engines but [the Jaycees] coordinate and fund the event," she added.

Starting at 1 p.m. in the park, four bands will be playing throughout the day and evening and children's games and pony rides will be available, Edwards said.