CarmelFest consolidating fireworks shows into its longest-ever July 4 display 


Editor’s note: The fireworks test originally set for May 19 will be rescheduled. A new date has not been announced.

The skies over central Carmel will light up like never before July 4, as the CarmelFest fireworks display is set to be the longest yet. 

The 30-minute show will last nearly eight minutes longer than last year’s event, but it comes as a result of other changes planned for the two-day festival. Instead of having fireworks shows on the east and west sides of town July 3, this year a single show will take place on Independence Day. 

“In the spirit of coming back together again, we have decided that it makes sense for a lot of reasons to do all of the fireworks on one night, as has been the tradition in Carmel for CarmelFest,” said Jeff Worrell, who has coordinated the fireworks show for more than 30 years “So, on July 4 at 9:45 p.m., we’re going to have the largest show we’ve ever had.” 

CarmelFest added the two July 3 fireworks shows in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the other aspects of the festival. It continued to present three shows in 2021 and 2022, but it created several challenges for organizers, such as spreading thin the city’s first responders, who are required to be present near launch sites for safety reasons.

Another change this year is that the fireworks will be launched from the Carmel Ice Skadium, meaning the display will be visible toward the southern end of the festival area instead of the north. To accommodate the new launch site, Third Avenue SW will be closed from north of Runyon Equipment Rental’s north entrance to Gradle Drive. 

CarmelFest organizers will conduct a test show from the Carmel Ice Skadium launch site. It will not light up the sky like a traditional show, instead displaying puffs of smoke, but it will include similar loud sounds. 

The July 4 fireworks show will be set to music that will be played on speakers throughout the festival area and can be heard on 91.3 FM. The music must be played through an FM radio to be in sync with the show, as music streamed online has a delay. 

Worrell, who is also a member of the Carmel City Council, said he knows that not everyone will like the changes, especially the reduced number of shows. 

“We do not take that lightly. I understand that there will be people who will be disappointed, because I hear lovely stories about, ‘Our grandmother can’t get out, and so she could sit on the back stoop and take in the fireworks.’ So, I do regret that that is a consequence of this decision,” he said. “But on the public safety side, I think it (is outweighed by) our ability to provide the tradition of fireworks in a safe location, centralized around our festival with the adequate amount of security and safety personnel.” 

One thing that hasn’t changed: CarmelFest is selling Spark buttons to support the fireworks show. The light-up pins come with a card that offers discounts at various local retailers and restaurants. Spark buttons will be available at the Carmel Farmers’ Market, All Things Carmel shop on Main Street and at the Wednesday evening concerts at the gazebo at City Hall. 

Learn more about CarmelFest at