MERRIMAC, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Merrimac summer tradition has been scrapped this year because of dry weather conditions that are calling for water bans all over the state.
The Merrimac Fire Department issued a statement on Friday that the town's "Old Home Days" bonfire will not happen this year, as a precaution to the heightened likelihood a brush fire could ignite. A critical level drought is in place for Essex County along with an outdoor watering ban, causing concern for any potential large fires in the region.
Instead, the MFD says a laser show will take place to close out the festivities on Saturday, August 13 starting at 8 p.m. Officials say the performance will feature Connecticut Lasers with a choreographed display tailored to live music.
Old Home Days is an annual event in Merrimac that features two days of live music, a craft fair with vendors, yard games, movie showing, silent auction, bake off, dance, and a beer garden. Officials say hundreds of volunteer hours were put effort into planning the event, encouraging residents to come through despite the lack of a bonfire.
“While we regret that this tradition will not go forward as usual, we move forward knowing that this is the safest approach to take as our area is facing a significant drought and mandatory water restrictions,” Merrimac Fire Chief Larry Fisher said.
The MFD mentioned that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has been putting out brush fires across the state for more than two weeks. On Wednesday, a model rocket accident led to a fire that spread across and scorched two acres of athletic fields in Topsfield.
Old Home Days kicks off on Friday, August 12.