MLB apologizes for excessively late, loud All-Star fireworks

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2014 - 7:07 AM

Residents complained that the show was longer, louder and later than they expected.

Major League Baseball apologized Tuesday for a late-night fireworks display at an All-Star Gala in downtown Minneapolis that was louder and more illuminating than initially advertised, leaving many Minneapolis residents rattled, sleepy and irritated.

The bright and booming fireworks over the Stone Arch Bridge were launched around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday and lasted nearly 15 minutes.

People jolted from their sleep took to social media, their telephones and e-mail accounts to register complaints.

The invitation-only gala at the Mill City Museum, featuring a 50-minute set by pop-soul star Aloe Blacc, was scheduled to start after the Home Run Derby at nearby Target Field, which organizers projected would be about 10 p.m.

But rain delayed the Derby by an hour, holding up the outdoor gala and pushing the start of the fireworks well past midnight.

During a neighborhood meeting a month ago, attendees were told by the gala’s organizer that the display would begin at 11:45 p.m., last for 10 minutes and be modest in scope.

Dawn Sommers, whose Minneapolis Park Board issued a permit for the gala, said, “Last night’s event was not a pyrotechnic display but an aerial fireworks display that was longer, bigger and louder than expected by the Park Board.”

In a statement issued early Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball said the gala was to “conduct a light fireworks display at midnight, [but] the show that the fireworks vendor executed was louder and longer than what we were expecting.

“Major League Baseball and the Twins apologize to area residents for any inconvenience.”

Twin spokesman Kevin Smith, whose team is the official host for All-Star Game festivities, said he understands the fireworks were scheduled for midnight but were pushed back 20 minutes in “a weather-induced decision that we were forced into.”

Smith added that “I’m sure people were upset” by the late hour of the noisy celebration, “and we are sensitive to that.” At the same time, he added, “this is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

The gala was staged by Chad Hudson Events, a special events coordinating company with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Events representative Jeff Consoletti, who is in Minneapolis, said his company joins with Major League Baseball in apologizing and explained that the local fireworks vendor put on a display that “was a little bit louder and longer than we expected. We were equally surprised with the show last night.”

The vendor, working under a permit issued by the city, was RES Specialty Pyrotechnics of Belle Plaine. Officials with the company were not immediately available to address how the show turned out.

Several residents who complained on Twitter used the hashtag “bragmpls,” which Mayor Betsy Hodges’ office introduced earlier Monday to encourage citizens to boast about Minneapolis.

Minneapolis police said their All-Star Game command center received no complaints but its dispatch center did field some calls. The city’s 311 nonemergency call-in center also received many complaints from downtown residents and beyond.

Ken Searl, an officer with the Mill City Neighborhood Association, found it amusing that people who live in a major city would complain about a few minutes of noise on a summer’s night.

“We live in a city, and things happen,” said Searl, who was at the meeting where the gala’s organizer gave its briefing. “And they were nice enough to tell us about it. I don’t think there was any big objection to it at all [during the meeting].”

Searl, who lives downtown, said he was asleep when the first booms sounded and admitted Tuesday morning that “it was kind of a shock” at first. But, Searl added, he quickly went out to his balcony and took in the show.

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