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Are they rushing the season?

Although Thanksgiving is still days away, DeBary’s leaders are already looking several months ahead to a big holiday celebration.

Satisfied with the success of the city’s July Fourth festivities this year — in contrast to its 2018 fiasco — the DeBary City Council has ratified contracts with the group that planned and arranged the celebration and with the company that provided the fireworks.

The council agreed Nov. 6 to retain Citizen Event Organizers, a nonprofit organization, to arrange the 2020 Independence Day activities, and to secure donations from local businesses to cover the cost of the fireworks display.

“We’re not paying them. They are creating a revenue stream,” Mayor Karen Chasez said, referring to the city’s contract with CEO.

City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said one of DeBary’s challenges in planning the July 4, 2019, program at Gemini Springs Park was what had happened the year before.

DeBary’s 2018 Independence Day celebration was a flop because of heavy rains that soaked the fireworks launch tubes and wiring, making it unsafe — if not impossible — to light up the sky with things that go boom in the night.

The DeBary Fire Department prohibited the pyrotechnic show because of concerns about out-of-control explosions on the ground and over crowds of people.

Many disappointed people left the park. Some went to watch the fireworks at Deltona’s Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex.

As well as renewing its agreement with CEO, the City Council once again contracted with Xtreme FX LLC, of Port Charlotte, for the loud and colorful Independence Day finale.

“Their professionalism and their expertise was phenomenal,” Rosamonda said. “This organization did a great job.”

Under the contract with Xtreme FX, DeBary is paying the company $29,000, with $10,000 paid upfront, and the remainder after the event.

Rosamonda also noted one of the challenges for DeBary in planning its July Fourth activities earlier this year was Volusia County’s ban on bounce houses and other inflatables in county parks.

Weeks before the summer holiday, the county prohibited the portable children’s amusements because of concerns about liability.

County attorneys cited reports of people, especially children, being injured in bounce houses that were overturned by sudden gusts of wind.

In the absence of the inflatables, CEO had to arrange other fun and games, such as three-legged races and eating contests.


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