RIDDLE — The Sawdust Jubilee has been a Riddle tradition since the early 1980s, encompassing a weekend of vendors, live entertainment, food, family events and fireworks. This year’s festival was canceled due to state gathering restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Riddle wants to keep a semblance of the tradition alive.
“We felt this year with so many cancellations due to COVID-19 that it was important to have something to look forward to and celebrate,” volunteer Melisa Wagnon said.
The display will begin at exactly 10 p.m. Saturday. The launch site has moved from the high school to private property owned by Green Diamond Performance Materials off Sixth Avenue. This site will be inaccessible to the public.
Shells will reach 300-600 feet above the town. Unlike in previous years, there will be no ground-level effects. Funds usually reserved for ground entertainment have been dedicated to bigger shells so the display can be seen across the entire town.
“This is going to be a total aerial fireworks display,” said Larry Linton, who has organized fireworks for the Sawdust Jubilee since 1983. “This show is going to be visible everywhere. We are going to have a very nice fireworks display.”
Linton said organizers are asking the public not to bring their consumer fireworks with them if they come to view the show, even encouraging locals to use personal fireworks either before or after the display. Local fire departments will be staged at the location, but with fire season already in effect, Linton said it’s better safe than sorry.
“Everybody’s welcome,” Linton said. “Park your vehicle and enjoy the show. Be socially cautious, keep your social distancing and enjoy the fireworks show.”
All masks and social distancing rules will be in effect and organizers ask that all trespassing, parking, road closure, handicap and similar signs are followed.
“Last year’s finale was the best one I have ever done before, but this year we are going to beat it,” Linton said. “It will be loud, noisy, colorful and intense. Come and enjoy. We are going to do our best to thrill the heck out of you.”