Fireworks Organizers Plan for Biden’s Visit

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SCRANTON -- The annual Independence Day celebration in Scranton is the first of what may be many campaign stops in our area for the upcoming presidential election.

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Scranton Tuesday and take in the annual fireworks at a trying time for his cash-strapped hometown.

More than 10,000 people crowded Scranton's courthouse square last year for Lackawanna County's Fourth of July fireworks.

But, this year, how those crowds of thousands get to courthouse square will be a little different.

"Now, everybody that will be in a secured area right here in front of the courthouse will have to go through checks, a magnetizer, and it will hinder the process a little bit," said Lackawanna County Deputy Director of Community Relations Jim Rodway.

Organizers spent Monday morning going over the logistics for Tuesday's fireworks. They learned only days ago that Vice President Biden will be stopping by. Biden's on the campaign trail and will speak at courthouse square before the fireworks begin.

Organizers say if you want to avoid the secret service security checks, there are areas on the outside of the square where you can sit.  Scranton police will be stationed all over downtown.

"The Fourth of July holiday is a very busy time for us, no doubt, so we have to make sure we brought enough personnel to deal with both that event and the Vice President coming to town," said Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy.

The vice president's visit comes at a trying time for the city of Scranton. City leaders are still fighting over how to keep the Scranton financially afloat.

Some city employees plan to protest at Tuesday's event. And, the police in charge of crowd control are just some of the city employees making only minimum wage because of the financial crisis.

"The public needs us to stand firmly even when we are making a significantly less amount of money, in the end this is what we're sworn to do. We're sworn to protect and serve the citizens regardless of the amount of money that we make, that's the most important thing," Duffy added.

Organizers say security will start doing checks around 4:00 p.m. for people wanting to get in to the secure area. They expect people to start showing up by 2:00 p.m.