Updated at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday
EAST JORDAN — Fourth of July did not get moved up by a month in southern Charlevoix County.
It may have seemed like that late Sunday and early Monday morning when an extended fireworks display erupted, making more than a few area residents question what was going on and grumble about being woken up.
Turns out it was part of the weekend long celebration for 2013 graduates at East Jordan High School.
“A friend of mine even heard it across (Lake Charlevoix),” commented Abbey Etler, a South Arm resident who claims to have been awakened at 12:30 a.m. “I was asleep, as I’m sure many people were, but I wasn’t irate about it. I just thought it was inconsiderate.”
East Jordan High School principal Tammy Jackson admitted she took calls regarding the display on Monday. Although the weekend of events highlighting Sunday afternoon’s graduation ceremony were not sanctioned specifically by the school or the district, it’s not the first time fireworks have been used.
“I believe it has been done before in the past,” she commented, stating a parent organization planned the weekend’s events. “That is put on by a legit company, not shot off by a bunch of kids privately.”
The display was put on by Great Lakes Fireworks, who stated “we were glad to do it, helping kids celebrate graduating with something to do besides partying.”
According to Bruce Tyree, owner of Great Lake Fireworks, the 8-minute display was shot off just before midnight from shore in Eveline Township while graduates were on a boat on Lake Charlevoix. Neighboring properties were informed of the event, according to Tyree, and were supportive. He also stated the event was permitted through Eveline Township with Charlevoix-Cheboygan-Emmet 9-1-1 Dispatch as well as the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office being informed of the display.
The company was contracted by East Jordan Parents For Alternative Choices.
Jackson also detailed that the weekend festivities included multiple events at Boyne Mountain — such as ziplining, visiting Avalanche Bay and taking a chairlift ride — along with viewing a senior video at Bellaire Theatre and a boat ride on the Voyager out of Charlevoix.
Jon Hoover, the superintendent of East Jordan Public Schools, stated no calls regarding the celebration had been received on Monday or early Tuesday. He emphasized EJPS had no input on the events that included the fireworks.
"It's an all-night party put on by the parents, they work really hard on it and spend all year planning," he stated. "We did not know about what was planned, but is there staff that may have? Perhaps if thay had a child that was graduating, but we did not get a schedule or anything like that."
East Jordan Police Chief Don Boehm Jr. and Charlevoix County Sheriff Don Schneider each stated they had no knowledge of the fireworks eruption. CCE 9-1-1 dispatch did record two fireworks-related calls over the weekend in Charlevoix County, including one in Boyne City.
“I expected with it being late at night, there may be (complaints),” said Tyree. “We spoke with the neighbors, the sheriff’s office and 9-1-1 dispatch.”
Informed of the reason, Etler was understanding — to a point.
“I don’t want them to get in trouble, they’re kids and they should be celebrating,” she explained. “Something like this could have repercussions, even though the kids should be celebrating their accomplishments. Why couldn’t it have been earlier?”