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Fireworks return to Smithfield

Just after 9:30 p.m. July 2, a rocket took off from Clontz Memorial Park and detonated over the Pagan River — producing a loud “bang” and a trail of sparkles in the sky.

Then another. Then another.

Crowds of people watched from the boardwalk at Smithfield Station and elsewhere in town. Some held their phones out to record the spectacle.

After all, this wasn’t just any Independence Day celebration. It was the first fireworks show the town had hosted since prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year — a sign that life was finally beginning to return to some semblance of normalcy.

The town typically holds its annual fireworks display July 3, but chose July 2 this year to accommodate the availability of the fireworks company. Councilman Randy Pack said in February when Smithfield’s Town Council voted to move forward with the 2021 fireworks that having an early July 4 event is often an advantage because it draws an influx of visitors to the town who shop and dine locally, then travel to larger Hampton Roads events the next day.