A late-night fireworks show that was part of a VIP riverfront gala put on by Major League Baseball annoyed and confused many city residents last night, and now some public officials are angry because they were led to believe that the show would be a quieter affair.
Event organizer Jeff Consoletti met with neighbors at last month’s Mill District Neighborhood Association (MDNA) meeting to present plans for the All-Star Gala, which was held at the Mill City Museum following the Home Run Derby. Consoletti said that a pyrotechnic light show would begin at 11:45 p.m. near the Stone Arch Bridge and run for eight to 10 minutes.
“It will not be amplified fireworks, so it will just be pyro, sort of like if you’re at the ballpark and you see ‘the rockets red glare’ during the Star Spangled Banner. It will be silent bursts of pyro,” said Consoletti at the meeting. Consoletti works for Chad Hudson Events, the company hired by MLB to put on the All-Star Gala.
Instead of a silent light show, event-goers were treated to an impressive, booming display of fireworks that could be heard throughout the city.
“They said there would not be fireworks at the event. We were misled, whether it was intentional or not,” said MDNA board member Dave Tinjen.
The Park Board, which owns the Stone Arch Bridge and surrounding property, agreed to allow a pyrotechnic show but was also surprised by its scale.
“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,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement released to the media.
When the Home Run Derby was delayed because of rain the gala was pushed back as well, so the fireworks didn’t begin until approximately 12:20 a.m., further upsetting the neighborhood.
“What happened was not what we agreed to,” said Third Ward City Council Member Jacob Frey.
Frey said he received a number of complaints about the fireworks this morning and wrote on Twitter that he was furious because fireworks were not authorized. City staff has not yet responded to several requests for permitting information regarding the All-Star Gala.
Frey said he received an apology from the Twins and a promise for free tickets for affected residents, although details on the free tickets have still yet to be worked out. At the Mill District Neighborhood meeting in June a Twins official brought up the possibility of hosting ‘Mill District Night’ at a future game with free tickets for the neighborhood.
UPDATE: The Twins have confirmed several hundred tickets will be given to the neighborhood as part of an already-planned 'Mill District Night,' which was created as a token of appreciation for residents inconvenienced by the gala. The date for Mill District Night has not yet been decided.