No fireworks for Alexandria’s big “First Night” celebration

Fireworks ushered in First Night Alexandria\'s big 2008 New Year\'s Eve celebration. Changes to the Virginia state law led to eliminating the fireworks show this year. (First Night Alexandria)

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – There are some big celebrations coming up for “First Night” this year but one of the biggest has a big change — no fireworks.

First Night Alexandria, which attracted more than 8,000 spectators last year will have 100 performances at 18 different venues. They plan to drop 6,000 ping pong-size balls at midnight at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

First Night Executive Director Ann Dorman says the traditional fireworks have been replaced by a laser light show because of a new state law. That law requires more space between the fireworks and spectators.

“What that does, effectively, is preclude us from doing fireworks anywhere in the city of Alexandria,” Dorman says.

Virginia’s General Assembly changed the law after a series of accidents at fireworks displays over the last few years including one in Fairfax County on July 4, 2007. Eleven people were injured at the Vienna fireworks display.

Dorman says they did not consider a fireworks display over the Potomac for this year but didn’t rule it out in the future.

There are also First Night celebrations in Fredericksburg, Warrenton, and Leesburg in Virginia. In Maryland, there are First Night celebrations in Annapolis and Easton.

The best bet for fireworks in the Washington region is the Baltimore New Year’s Eve celebration in the Inner Habor.

There is an admission fee for most of these celebrations.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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