ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom draws crowd despite stormy weather

Published 12:25 pm Monday, July 3, 2023

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

CHELSEA – The 2023 edition of ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom drew a large crowd last weekend for family entertainment and fireworks ahead of the July Fourth holiday.

The only obstacle for this year’s event on Saturday, July 1 was the weather, which became worse in the area during the evening hours.

About thirty minutes before the event was scheduled to start, an unexpected wind storm came through and displaced many of the vendors’ tents, according to Chelsea Public Information Officer Wayne Morris.

“That certainly impacted the setup,” Morris said. “It happened very suddenly and caught us off guard.”

The city delayed the event start time until 6:15 p.m. to give everyone a chance to regroup.

ChelseaFest kicked off with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem and several songs performed by Chelsea native Lexi Frederick.

With input from local meteorologists, city leaders monitored the weather and paused activities when necessary.

“A couple of times, we asked people to go back to their cars because of lightning in the area,” Morris said. “Safety is always the No. 1 priority.”

The Park Band, the main musical entertainment for this year’s event, started playing at 7 p.m. Unfortunately, the band was able to play only one song before lightning started again.

“They did their first song, and they were fantastic,” Morris said. “After the first song, the decision was made that we needed to stop. The lightning had intensified. We decided the best option was to get people back to their cars and see where this was going and make a decision after that.”

Morris said the plan was to pause the program until the weather improved, but conditions continued to deteriorate, prompting city leaders to cancel the remainder of the program and move the fireworks show up to 8 p.m.

“The fireworks are going to fire rain or shine,” he said. “We weren’t going to waste that investment, even though it was less-than-desirable conditions.”

Despite the weather, Morris said this year’s ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom marked another successful turnout in terms of business and food vendors, attendees, sponsors and trade partners.

“We were sold out of business vendors and food vendors, and they all showed,” Morris said, adding that Wayne’s Pest Control, this year’s title sponsor, and many other contributors made the event possible. “It seems to just grow every year. Next year, we expect it to be even bigger.”