JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Nothing says 4th of July to Ruth Kelly like some family, flags, and fireworks. For the last two decades, she’s been coming to Jacksonville Beach to soak up the sky show from the sand.
"It's always been real good. We've been down here for 20 years now and it's always been real good,” Kelly said.
But this year, it isn’t happening. The show has been canceled.
"This year there will not be a fireworks display in the city of Jacksonville Beach,” said Sgt. Tom Bingham with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.
Several months ago, Jax Beach city council members voted not to pay for fireworks. They cited safety concerns as the main reason for canceling the annual display. When you ask Bingham about it, he likened the Independence Day crowds post-fireworks to a tsunami.
"We estimate anywhere from 90,000-100,000 people would come down for the fireworks and then all try to leave at the same time, so even putting as many officers as we can out there just wasn't enough,” said Bingham.
But Kelly is not buying it.
"In my opinion, that's not a good enough reason,” she said.
Sitting in her tent, American flags flying and alternative plans already in the works for Wednesday, Kelly can’t help but think it’s the end of an era.
"We were really disappointed. All of these people that live up and down the beach said that they were just devastated,” she said.
Action News has still not heard if the Jacksonville Beach fireworks display will return in 2013.