CONNEAUT — A last-minute disappointment hit Conneaut Fourth of July Festival Director Marty Landon early Saturday afternoon when the fireworks company could not haul the equipment on to the beach at Conneaut Township Park.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control the fireworks have been canceled,” Landon said while preparing for the Conneaut Idol competition,”

Landon said the fireworks company trucks kept getting stuck and it was determined it would not be possible to get the equipment on to the beach so the show was canceled.

He said the festival will encumber some kind of charge for the transportation of the fireworks, but all donations beyond that will be used for next year’s fireworks. 

The fireworks problem started with the high water levels on Lake Erie that have encroached on the sandbar where the fireworks staging area was located. Landon said an agreement was reached with Conneaut Township Park to use the eastern part of the beach just west of the breakwall to fire the fireworks.

The festival continued with the semifinals of the Conneaut Idol competition that has often been a cornerstone of the festival. Jennifer Calhoun of Ashtabula; Brittney Bryson of Jefferson and Anthony Vencill of Austinburg Township battled it out on Saturday afternoon for a trip to the finals last night.

Bryson led off with a rendition of “Black Velvet” and judges, Jim Seese and Chris Hise, provided feed back immediately following her performance. Hise said Bryson improved her crowd awareness and did a good job on the song.

“It sounded good I am glad you picked that song,” Seese said.

Jennifer Calhoun chose the famous “Over the Rainbow” and wore a colorful dress to match.

“One of the things you have to do is dress the part, and you did,” HIse said.

“It (the song) brings back a lot of memories. I grew up on that song and that movie, and I raised my children on that song and that movie,” Seese said.

Vencill chose “Old Red” by Blake Shelton. Hise said Vencill needed to continue to work on his stage presence and connection with the crowd but liked the song.

“You’ve been picking good songs. This is a close race,” Seese said.

Bryson and Vencill moved along to the finals.

A variety of food trucks and amusement rides lined Lakeview Park as people talked with friends and tried to find shaded protection from the warm temperatures.

The three-day festival, that has roots back to the 1800s, concluded on Saturday evening.