Long Branch, NJ nixes July 4 fireworks fearing TikTok pop-up party
LONG BRANCH — After hundreds of people showed up at Pier Village on Saturday night for an unauthorized party promoted on social media, officials have canceled the Fourth of July fireworks out of fear that another pop-up party will lead to mayhem.
Long Branch’s fireworks display that had been scheduled for July 4 will be held at a later date to be determined, according to city Public Safety Director Domingos Saldida.
In statement, he said the decision was made "in the best interest of our residents and businesses.”
Saldida told New Jersey 101.5 that "intelligence" developed by the city along with state, county and local law enforcement was another possible pop-up TikTok event on July 3.
Saldida said he looked at the "whole picture" and made the decision to postpone the July 4 fireworks considering both the residents and businesses at Pier Village and additional visitors that would come for the display.
"It was the reasonable thing for me to do for public safety and for human life to cancel the fireworks just in case we would have had some aftermath from the 3rd," Saldida said.
Saldida said that the fireworks will take place at a different time during the summer. But once a date is announced, there could be word of a pop-up party that could spread quickly on social media.
"There's always that possibility. You can prepare for anything at any given time. Things can change at the drop of a dime," Saldida said.
The city’s annual Oceanfest July 4 festival was already canceled in the spring due to uncertainty over pandemic limits on crowd size.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said another factor that makes some Jersey Shore towns attractive for social media parties is New Jersey's new marijuana law. It a potential third degree crime to interrogate or ask questions of minors if they suspect drug or alcohol use.
"It makes it very difficult for our law enforcement officers out there to investigate the underage use of any of those substances. It's an enabling law. We went from a ballot question for adult use to an enabling law for teen use is what we went to," Golden said.