By Sally Voth
Expect fireworks - not political ones this time - in Middletown this weekend.
The Mid-Atlantic Fireworks Festival is coming for its semi-annual show, Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV said.
The show will be in town trying out fireworks from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in the town park, he said. About 50 industry employees will be attending the conference.
Harbaugh said there are only two such trade shows on the East Coast, with the other one happening in the spring in Maryland. Middletown is trying to get the convention every fall, he said.
"We get our fireworks from one of the companies that's participating in this event," Harbaugh said. "We're trying to petition to keep it. It's a great community event. It's free to the public. The town doesn't pay for anything.
"In fact, it benefits the town a lot. They're staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants. They're providing a pretty cool benefit to the town. It's a chance for our citizens to get to see products that haven't been shot before. They're testing new products, trying new combinations of things."
The mayor said about 25 vendors would be coming to southern Frederick County from all over the East Coast.
"They send vendors up here to shoot new stuff, to try and test what will be popular for the next year's shows that towns have, and cities [have], that organizations have," he said.
Harbaugh said Saturday's event would also feature music.
According to the M.A.F.F. website, the 4-year-old festival is a way to let fireworks fans safely and legally indulge their pastime and entertain spectators.
"M.A.F.F. provides a venue for enthusiasts to ply their trade under the supervision of licensed fireworks professionals while at the same time providing our spectators a show they are not likely to see anywhere else outside of a PGI convention or a club shoot," the site states.
According to the website, the show may feature consumer and display fireworks displays "and hopefully a pyro-musical or two."
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org