JOHNSTOWN - Local residents will have the opportunity to enjoy fireworks Tuesday as a kickoff to the new year, a celebration of 2008 and a tribute to the city's 250th anniversary celebration.
Debra Kolsrud, who moved to the city about six months ago, said she wanted to organize a fireworks display because it seemed like a fitting way to end the city's anniversary. The anniversary celebrations have been going on throughout the year and have included parades, book signings, historic tours and other events.
"I love fireworks, and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the end of the year," she said. "This is a Revolutionary War town. Here's the courthouse and city hall, let's have some rockets' red glare and have a happy new year."
Kolsrud, who is a member of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said she saw a fireworks fund in the budget for the city's anniversary celebration that had not been used. What better way to use it, she said, than for an end-of-the-year display.
While the fireworks are not sponsored by the city or the 250th Committee, city officials were helpful in organizing the display, Kolsrud said.
"Mayor [Sarah Slingerland] was very helpful in terms of directing me to the different people I needed to talk to," she said.
The city, in past years, had been a part of First Night celebrations, so Kolsrud used some of the connections from that event to organize the Tuesday fireworks display, she said.
"I said, well if it's just a matter of going around and getting permission, I'd be willing to do it," she said. "It's kind of like I'm having fireworks and inviting the whole community."
Chamber President Wally Hart said he and other chamber members were skeptical about the fireworks display, considering the short notice. Kolsrud was tenacious in her efforts though, Hart said.
"She's the one who made it happen," he said. "The rest of us probably would have given up on it, and she just kept saying we should do it."
A Saratoga-area company was hired to put on the fireworks for past First Night celebrations and Kolsrud asked the same group to put on the display on Tuesday, Hart said. The city was cooperative as well, and city fire department, police and public works officials will be on hand to monitor the event.
Hart said he is working to have some sort of music for the display, which will be conducted near the post office parking lot on Main Street. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.
"Everything sort of fell into place," he said. "It's a great way to end the 250th celebration."
Kolsrud said she has been amazed by the sense of community in the city and the surrounding area, and is hoping the event will be something many local residents will come out to enjoy.
"It was lovely to see the families at the holiday parade and the tree lighting," she said. "This is a community that just loves to come out with their kids and do fun things together."
Kayleigh Karutis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.