St. Pete fireworks won't be rescheduled; city blames vendor

At Vinoy Park on Thursday, people were enjoying the sunshine, fishing and taking in the day. It was back to normal after the Fourth of July holiday -- more so because there was no fireworks display to clean up after.

"The community is upset, rightfully so," said Mike Jefferis, the city's leisure services administrator. "We've had families sit in the park. We had families bring their kids out. We had families put up with the rain and inclement weather out there." 

Creative Pyrotechnics, the vendor for last night's scheduled show, says it didn't have enough time to set up the 20-minute display the city of St. Petersburg was expecting. 

"Basically, we were told that this vendor delivers product for shows throughout the state, and that some of the weather they had run into -- that they actually got delayed, got backed up and when they got to our show, they didn't have the time to set up properly," said Jefferis. 

E.J. Wepple, the owner of Creative Pyrotechnics, says the crew arrived four hours late to set up for St. Petersburg's fireworks show. While it was setting up, storms rolled through the area, causing yet another delay, and eventually the city canceled the event before it was set to go on. 

The city of St. Petersburg has worked with Creative Pyrotechnics for almost 10 years. Last night's fireworks would have cost $25,000 to put on. Instead, the city says it has to recover costs from both set-up and security.  

"This vendor is a top-tier vendor, and has really given our community -- not just for Fourth of July, but for Pride, for Grand Prix, for the orchestra, Chill Lounge -- this is the vendor that everybody uses," said Jefferis.

But the city says it will no longer use this vendor going forward. Creative Pyrotechnics said it had about 20 shows scheduled throughout the state, and some had to be postponed because of weather. 

"Yeah, they could have at least maybe postponed it to tonight," said Zoe Dekeles of St. Petersburg. "I haven't even heard of them doing that. It would have been better than nothing." 

Creative Pyrotechnics offered to postpone the show until tonight, but the city declined. The Fourth of July fireworks will not be rescheduled.