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Local News

July 6, 2013

Danvers, Salem fireworks events go smoothly

DANVERS — Organizers say everything went smoothly during the Danvers Family Festival’s fireworks, despite new, tighter security measures in Plains Park.

It was also smooth sailing in Salem. Unlike Danvers, however, officials did not secure Derby Wharf, part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

In Danvers, law enforcement officials used barricades, bag checks, limited entrance points and a strict ban on coolers and backpacks to secure Plains Park for the fireworks show.

No one was allowed into the park until 4 p.m., and then people had to pass through checkpoints. Food and beverages had to be carried in clear plastic bags. All other bags, such as purses and diaper bags, were screened and tagged. Organizers who normally deal with a lot of trash removed trash barrels from the park and instituted a “carry in, carry out” policy.

It was all done in the name of public safety, in light of the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April.

And though it made for some inconvenience at first, Selectman Gardner Trask said it “went very smoothly.” A line formed to get into the park at 4 p.m., he said, but it cleared after about 15 minutes and didn’t reoccur later as “bursts of people” came to the park.

Trask, a member of the festival board, worked the crowd at the main entrance, steering people with bags and personal items to certain screening lines. Those without any personal items used other lines to get right into the park.

“The fencing seemed appropriate, and police used discretion when looking in bags, whether it was a diaper bag or a purse,” Trask said.

Bill McKenzie, co-chairman of Danvers Family Festival, said it “went a lot smoother than I thought it was going to. The numbers were down, but the incidents were down.” The crowd built later in the afternoon than usual, around 7 p.m.

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