SEBRING - A recent Facebook question asking about plans to attend Independence Day fireworks displays quickly became a discussion of why Sebring's event is on July 5.
"Only in stupid Sebring would they set the fireworks on the 5th of July!," Tracey L. Tait-Brown wrote. "I'm sure that's what our founding fathers meant - "We declare our independence on this Fourth of July or 5th or whenever you feel like celebrating it."
But Ray Napper, another poster, had a different point of view: "Oh come on folks, how many years has it been rained out and we had it on the next day, usually at that point the Fifth. It doesn't the matter about the day, as much as understanding the why of it. Please go read a history book and learn why this is a great nation. You may find out you are actually are proud of who we were, if not who we are. It may even give you something to strive for. It's the ideals of this nation."
And the Fourth of July is not the only holiday that draws controversy in Sebring as far as when all or part of it is celebrated. Some have questioned why Halloween is celebrated on the last Saturday in October, which is not necessarily the 31st.
As to why Sebring is holding its fireworks display on July 5 this year, there's a very simple reason, said Dusty Johnson, who organizes it as a member of the Rotary Club of Sebring.
This year, he said, by the time plans were firmed up, the only local contractor, Pyro Display Co., based in Sebring, had committed to fireworks displays in Avon Park and Lake Placid on July 4. The company didn't have the ability to coordinate three shows on one night, he said.
Johnson said this is not the first time the fireworks display was held on July 5 in Sebring.
Johnson sees several pluses by holding the fireworks on July 5. One is that by holding it on "Friday, we're hoping for better attendance," he said.
Another is that with Sun 'n Lake holding its fireworks on July 3 and the two displays on July 4, followed by Sebring's on July 5, "all the citizens can take their kids to watch fireworks three nights instead of two," he said.
He said Pyro is the only local contractor and Pyro has done a good job every year.
The city of Sebring is not directly involved in the event, although the Community Redevelopment Agency and Agero are sponsors.
City Councilman John Clark said that personally as a "traditionalist" he believes the fireworks should be on July 4.
Robert O' Connor wrote on Facebook that besides tradition, many people having the day off is a good reason to hold the fireworks on July 4.
"Many have the day off to BBQ - be with family etc. & top it off with the traditional fireworks. But... there goes tradition, right out the window...."
But Nikki Cassel wrote that the complainers were making too much out of the situation.
"Really? You are guys are complaining about a day's differences? Sometimes we (my family) have celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas days before or days after because of work. It's a date. It's just a day."