CONWAY — Visitors flocking to the Mount Washington Valley for the holiday weekend are encouraged to have a safe, fun Fourth of July on Saturday. Unfortunately, the traditional parades and fireworks are off the table this year.
Conway selectmen decided in late April to postpone Independence Day fireworks and live events like the Fourth of July parade through Conway until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
That doesn't mean you won't be seeing (and hearing) bottle rockets and other fireworks around the valley.
According to state Fire Marshal Paul J. Parisi, fireworks can only be purchased from a licensed retail store in New Hampshire. Ask for information about a product if you are unsure how to light it or determine what the effect will be.
You must be 21 years of age to purchase use fireworks in NH.
However, that doesn't mean they are legal in all towns. According to the state's list of Permissible Fireworks Community Restrictions, Conway, Berlin, Gorham, Madison, Wolfeboro and Wakefield prohibit the sale, possession and display of fireworks by consumers.
Lt. Chris Mattei of the Conway Police, says Conway's town ordinance does not permit private fireworks.
“Although they are legal in New Hampshire, I would like to remind everyone they are not authorized in Conway," Mattei told the Sun.
"Even when we have our annual Fourth fireworks here, we do get complaints of private fireworks ,and we do respond and let people know of the ordinance and that they have to cease and desist,” said Mattei.
They are also not allowed in the White Mountain National Forest.
In terms of safety on the water, the State Police-Marine Patrol Unit is asking boaters to comply with New Hampshire’s rafting laws and rules. In recent years, the number of boaters using the rafting areas on our lakes has increased significantly.
Regulated areas on Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Sunapee, Lake Monomonac, and Ossipee Lake have seen an increase in rafting violations. State rafting laws are designed to limit the concentration of boats on a sand bar by creating minimum distance requirements between boats, the shoreline and rafts (two boats tied together at anchor).
As many know, high concentrations of anchored boats in a confined area also create safety issues for boaters and swimmers. Very recently, first responders were significantly delayed from reaching a person suffering from a medical emergency due to illegal anchoring practices.
Propeller injuries, diving accidents and alcohol-related medical emergencies are also common in these areas.
This weekend, Marine Patrol Officers will be focusing on the enforcement of rafting regulations and Operation Dry Water, a national awareness and enforcement campaign dedicated to reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water. To report an emergency or violation to Marine Patrol, call 9-1-1. For more information on New Hampshire’s boating laws, go to marinepatrol.nh.gov.
Another area of concern on the Fourth are pets. Not only can fireworks (even the backyard kind) be stressful on dogs, they can also lead to dogs getting lost and separated from their pet parents.
Things to consider to help your pet during the 4th of July firework celebrations: Make sure your dog has access to a familiar environment where they will feel most secure. And if your plans involve being outdoors with your dog, make sure your pet has access to shade and plenty of water throughout the day. And keep identification on your pet at all times: Even if you follow all of these tips, your stressed pet may find a way to get out of the house. Always keep an ID on your pet with updated information.
Reporter Tom Eastman contributed to this article.