Emerald Isle cancels 2021 fireworks show, beach music festival

Emerald Isle commissioners Tuesday officially canceled the town’s Fourth of July Fireworks show, along with the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival, citing budget concerns. (News-Times photo)

EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel the annual Fourth of July fireworks show and beach music festival, citing budgetary concerns.

The two separate motions to cancel the events, made during the board’s monthly meeting in town hall and online via GoToWebinar, came a little more than a month after the town board of commissioners discussed the possibility in a budget work session.

“I love fireworks,” Commissioner Jim Normile said before the vote on a motion by Commissioner Steve Finch to cancel the show, which is held at Bogue Inlet Pier and attracts thousands of viewers to the beach and along town streets.

During the March 9 work session, commissioners expressed concerned Carteret County might switch to a new distribution method for state-shared sales and use tax revenues, reducing Emerald Isle’s share. That doesn’t look likely to happen for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which begins Thursday, July 1, but finance director Laura Rotchford said she and town manager Matt Zapp still have “overall budget concerns.”

For example, during the March work session, Mr. Zapp said because of coronavirus restrictions, the parks and recreation department had to cancel some revenue-producing programs.

In addition, officials said the Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority’s financial support for the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival has been declining, and it appears business sponsorship for the event would likely be down this year, as well.

Tuesday night, Ms. Rotchford told the board the two events combined cost the town about $71,000, and that doesn’t include extra money paid to emergency services personnel who work overtime.

“I do recommend canceling for budgetary reasons,” she said.

Commissioner Mark Taylor made the successful motion to cancel the music festival, which was to have been Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Western Ocean Regional Access.

The town also canceled the annual St. Patrick’s Festival and the Emerald Isle Marathon, but those decisions were made because of pandemic-related dangers and state restrictions on large gatherings.


Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(11) comments


Carteret County had a BANNER year last year, according to every town, etc, and now this is your thanks,lol. hahahahahahahahahahah Folks, retake your TOWNS, REMOVE THESE PUBLIC SERVANTS, their not so smart. (and seem to be ANTI-BUSINESS).


Yes, they made so much $ from the occupancy taxes! Smart move on their part to charge 7 day a week parking fees too!


[thumbup][thumbup]. I wish I thought they would remove them!! It's gotten to be so ridiculous w/all of these changes going on over there related to more and more regulations. UGH


Sad. Rather than cutting spending on a few things, they choose to cut the beach music festival, which brings in thousands of dollars of revenue for hundreds of businesses. The town’s revenue goes down because of this decision.

David Collins

Could always have a virtual music festival and fireworks on Zoom . As we all have come to know and love . A guaranteed crowd pleaser for sure .


That would be a great idea! And if they are worried about coronavirus spread, are they limiting ppl in rentals and on the beach or parking at the parking lots, where they'll come into close contact w/others? Last summer, ppl were back to back on the beach and there was no social distancing. Doesn't seem like that's their real reason.


Meters at the Visitors Center is still on the table. Lot is Always empty. Pay toilets could be an unexpected bonus. Shame to see that money lost Will we be Aesops ants or grasshoppers.


Great idea! While they are at it, there should be an hourly trash charge to throw away trash and use the trash receptacles as well as a $60 fine if they don't use the trash receptacles or if they don't pay for the full time they were parked at the beach.


EI should put in parking fees for all vacationers. $100 a week should cover all the cars that show up for rentals and VRBOs. (you see some houses with 5-10 cars) The rental agencies and owners could handle the collections. If the parking fees goes unreported, then charge the owners a blanket $4,000 per year. Millions of dollars of free income to spend as they wish.


[thumbup]. Lol great idea especially considering the huge houses that are built where the smaller ones are ripped down, making more & more sewage issues.


parking meters on Ocean Drive. Big ones that can handle a twenty dollar bill. A new tow truck should be budgeted. or use one of the town tractors that used to mow the lawn down to he dirt. Commissioners could consider dialing back their pay - now well above the area even State averages.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.