CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) --Fireworks in Cherry Hill have been a 4th of July tradition for nearly 30 years, but now they've been canceled.
At the advice of the police department and after much deliberation, township leaders decided the facility could no longer handle the large crowds.
"Crowd control had become an issue. In the last few years, what we've seen as other townships have canceled fireworks displays, we absorbed that influx of additional people," Bridget Palmer, Cherry Hill Township Director of Communications, told Action News.
The big display is usually held at Cherry Hill West High School along the baseball field.
Thousands come with their folding chairs and blankets to watch the show, but the township says it's just gotten to be too many people. Officials say they want to take a proactive approach to safety instead of waiting for something bad to happen.
"Number one in an emergency, can we safely, quickly evacuate people from the stadium?" Palmer said.
The change was quietly announced on the township's website, but has now become quite the talker for residents.
"I'm saddened. I grew up here my whole life and I think it's kind of crazy because it's a great time of the year for families and friends," resident Maria Whitekettle said.
"It's not a good thing. I guess things happen, but what are you going to say to the kids?" resident Richard Jackson said.
Even nearby businesses like Ponzio's diner say they'll be affected by the canceled show
"We used to get a lot of business from those fireworks here at Ponzio's. They're going to go elsewhere, I guess, into Philadelphia maybe," Gerry Kokolis of Ponzio's said.
Officials say funds from the fireworks will now go towards a restaurant week in August and the Music Under the Stars free concert series will be extended from three weeks to five.