VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Despite picture perfect temperature and clear skies, tonight’s Fireworks at the 44th Annual Virginia Beach Neptune Festival have been cancelled.
Dominion Fireworks consulted with the Coast Guard and Marine Police about the decision after high wind and wave advisories were issued by the National Weather Center.
“It is a disappointing and difficult decision,” says Nancy Creech, president of the festival, “but we have worked with Dominion for many years and have the highest respect for any decision they make, especially when it relates to the safety of individuals responsible for producing the show. The weather advisories are expected to be in place through Monday so the fireworks will not be rescheduled.”
Earlier in the week was mostly dry, but on-and-off rain added to the gloomy atmosphere. However, that didn’t stop people from getting outside and enjoying their vacations.
With a towel on and shoes in his hand, it was obvious a tourist from Uruguay ventured in the water with Hurricane Maria churning offshore. He wasn’t comfortable speaking English, so his sister told 10 On Your Side that he was in the water for about five minutes. For her, it was five minutes long enough.
“It was scary when I saw him going inside,” says Ana Xamo, who lives in New Jersey. “The water is not cold, but I got to a point where I said please don’t go anymore because it’s just scary to see the waves.”
Xamo and her family have visited Virginia Beach every other year for the last 10 years. This year, she won’t let Tropical Storm Maria ruin her vacation.
“What are you going to do? It’s a storm and that’s it,” Xamo says. “We’re happy to enjoy it anyway.”
One of her favorite things is the Neptune festival, where organizers say they’re not worried about Maria.
“We’re thinking that Maria is going to be here and be gone and we’re really excited about it,” says Becky Bump with Neptune Festival media relations.
Tuesday, 10 On Your Side got to take a look at the sand sculpture competition, safe from the wind and rain inside of a tent.
“It’s quite sturdy. It’s rated, I believe, for winds in excess of 90 miles per hour,” says Bump.
The Neptune Festival is also what brought a couple from Pittsburgh to Virginia Beach.
“You can grab some great food, you can see some eclectic things that you don’t see maybe where you’re from,” says Sherry Hutchison, who is visiting from Pittsburgh. “You can grab some memories, you know.”
She and her husband Mike have come every year since 2012 and aren’t going to let some wind and rain stop them.
“This will pass in a couple of days, it will be beautiful again,” says Sherry. “It’s all part of the beach experience.”
That being said, they may leave the water out of today’s beach experience.
“I try to get in everyday. Maybe not today though,” says Mike.
Virginia Beach Lifesaving Services has been patrolling the beach. Their advice is for people to stay out of the water. They say the water is not swimmable or surfable.