SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — After a foggy afternoon in South Haven Wednesday, it cleared up in plenty of time to set the stage for the annual Fourth of July fireworks along Lake Michigan.
The fireworks went off as expected around 10:30 p.m.
Even before the fog cleared in the early evening, a crowd started gathering on South Beach. The fireworks always draw thousands of spectators so police were out in force as usual, but they said the number of visitors seemed smaller this year.
“I think the fog scared a lot of people away, to be honest. Because when that fog came, they was thinking it was fixing to rain so they left, but now it’s nice,” Ontayveon Fry of Kalamazoo said.
“It’s a nice little vibe,” Floyd Russell, also of Kalamazoo, added. “I like it.”
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Last week, city officials said they were considering canceling the Light Up The Lake event because of concerns that waves or mist might wash over the pier, creating an electric shock threat. But conditions Wednesday were good.
“Low waves, low wind so it’s a go,” Police Chief Natalie Thompson said. “We’re just happy that it didn’t affect the fireworks on the pier.”
Beachgoer Russell said July 3 would be incomplete without the fireworks and he was relieved they went on.
“That would’ve been disappointing (if they had been cancelled), but it’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “Life goes on.”
Thompson told 24 Hour News 8 that her department had a plan to get people out of the area after the show quickly and safely. She staffed 13 traffic points with 43 officers to help exits go smoothly. The department also used new technology from the Michigan Department of Transportation to control traffic lights.
The fate of the fireworks show aside, there are still warnings about high water levels.
“Probably the most significant difference at any of our seven beaches would be at South Beach. The water level there for some days, it’s covered all the sand up to the parking lots,” Thompson said.