Fireworks Return to Highland Park

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar

HIGHLAND PARK – On July 3, residents in Highland Park and New Brunswick will come together to celebrate Independence Day in Donaldson Park in Highland Park.

For the last few years, residents in both Highland Park and New Brunswick have foregone a local fireworks celebration because of construction in Boyd Park and Route 18 in New Brunswick. The construction project is complete, but because Boyd Park is smaller now, there is not enough room to support a fireworks show, said Mike Blackwell, superintendent of recreation for New Brunswick. So the fireworks will be shot from Donaldson Park at the bottom of Second and Third avenues in Highland Park.


Before the fireworks, both municipalities will showcase concerts. Highland Park’s concert begins at 6 p.m. in Donaldson Park. The artist has not been scheduled. New Brunswick’s concert, featuring The Fins, will begin at 8 p.m. in the new amphitheater at Boyd Park. The fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m.

The joint effort between Highland Park, New Brunswick and Middlesex County made the event possible, said James McCrone, executive director of Main Street Highland Park, which promotes the businesses along Raritan Avenue.

“This has been such an easy, positive process because we were working together for a common goal,” he said. “It’s exactly the kind of thing you want to happen. We were acting in a pro-active manner and it’s wonderful to be a part of.”

Blackwell said “This is a joint effort and the two mayors are behind it.”

Highland Park Mayor Steve Nolan said the borough and city have a history of working together.

“The close relationship between New Brunswick and what is now Highland Park goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War when Hessian Troops fired artillery across the river at Colonel Alexander Hamilton’s army who was camped out on Seminary Hill at Rutgers.  Our cities share a rich heritage tied to the birth of our country,” he explained. “So it is more than fitting that the City of New Brunswick and the Borough of Highland Park have renewed their historic joint fireworks display to celebrate Independence Day.”

Middlesex County Freeholder James Polos, who lives in Highland Park, said the event should be a wonderful time for everyone.

“I’m very pleased the borough and city have initiated the event. It will be a wonderful event and a great time,” he said. “I’m glad Highland Park is making this event a reality.”

The county is providing the Perth Amboy Fire Department and Marine Unit; the New Jersey State Police Marine Unit, lighting, park facilities, security and park rangers.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. AMB Properties, which owns 60 properties in New Brunswick, and CME Engineering are sponsors, but Blackwell said he is looking for a few more businesses or individuals to provide $2,000 sponsorships. The event costs $20,000 to produce, he said.

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