Ocean City Today

Resort keeps fireworks contractor for now

City Council will discuss three-year deal with Image Engineering in near future
By Katie Tabeling | Sep 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Dave Messick/Unscene Productions

(Sept. 8, 2017) With the success of the Labor Day weekend fireworks, Image Engineering proved that it can pull off a spectacle that meets Ocean City visitors’ expectations. Even so, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay on for the next two years.

“It was a very good show, and we will move forward with the current contract. But they’re only as good as their last show, like everything in the entertainment business,” Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller said Tuesday.

The fireworks show at Northside Park, which was in conjunction with Sundaes in the Park concert on Sept. 3, was organized to give Image Engineering a second chance. The company botched the grand finales for Fourth of July shows at Northside Park and North Division Street this summer.

The grand finales failed to launch because 4-inch fuse cables accidentally were used instead of 12-inch fuses, company representatives said. As a result, the computer controlling the ignition could not find the fuse and cut the show short by four minutes.

Fourth of July was the first event Image Engineering staged with the resort, as American Fireworks provided the show for the last five years. Image Engineering was brought on for $62,000 per fiscal year until 2019. Eighty percent of that amount is for the Fourth of July shows.

The Labor Day weekend show was modeled after past New Year’s Eve events, which include 780 shells and a few multi-shot packages, or “cakes.” Thirteen shells in one cake did not fire.

The Independence Day shows had double the fireworks, with 1,588 shells and 30 cakes at North Division Street and 1,566 shells at Northside Park. Forty-two shells did not fire in the downtown show, and 24 shells failed in the uptown event.

“It’s always about how capable they are – and they showed us that they are capable to meet our demands,” Miller said. “There were 4,000 people there for the show, and we usually have 1,500 to 2,500 for a typical Sundaes in the Park. There was a lot a positive feedback.”

Councilman Dennis Dare, one of the thousands who saw the show, thought it was spectacular.

“It was half the time of the Fourth of July show, but it was intense,” Dare said. “There were blues and greens, something that’s not common in the shows. There was a finale this time, so that helped.”

Dare said that he expects the full council to discuss the do-over show and what it means for Image Engineering’s contract with the resort.

“We have a dilemma now. They have the capability, and they demonstrated that they can do it. But they didn’t exercise it for the Fourth of July,” he said. “We’re continuing with New Year’s Eve, but we still have the ability to terminate the contract if the irregularities continue.”

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