Naples New Year’s Eve fireworks to be set off from barge in Gulf

NAPLES, Fla.- Preparations are underway for the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Naples.

This year, the city is lighting the fireworks off from a barge in the Gulf in hopes of relieving some of the traffic congestion afterwards.

“We are not going to come down here this year to watch the fireworks,” said Sandra Bitz, who is visiting Naples. “We have heard about them and hear they’re wonderful, and also we’ve heard about the traffic issues involved in them.”

The 20-minute fireworks display draws 20,000 people to the Naples Pier every year, but with the show, also comes a headache.

“For the fireworks, it draws a lot of people so there are cars everywhere,” said Brian Anderson, who lives near the pier. “It’s extremely hard to find parking and then afterwards the fireworks are over, it can take you an hour and a half to two hours to get out of here. Traffic’s really backed up.”

“We’ve talked about doing it off the barge for many years now. So this is the year we finally said ‘let’s try it,'” said Capt. Roger Jacobsen, the Harbor Master for the City of Naples.

On Thursday afternoon, a barge loaded with 2,000 fireworks left the Naples Landing Dock to head to its destination 1,000 feet offshore. It took crews just over two hours to get the barge out to the Gulf.

The city hopes this is one way to help eliminate all the traffic congestion after the show.

“So we figured by putting the barge just north of the pier, it opens up more exits to get out to 41. So we’re hoping it alleviates that traffic jam we always deal with,” said Capt. Jacobsen.

Just like prior years, only those with wheelchairs or needing assistance will be able to watch the fireworks on the pier. The fireworks are scheduled to go off at 7:30 p.m.

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