One tiny Boise County town has become so overrun with out-of-towners who want to shoot off illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July that locals have considered canceling their holiday festivities.
Crouch, with a population of about 170 on the northwest side of the county, swells exponentially on the national holiday.
“It’s pretty much wall-to-wall people,” said Diane Caughlin, president of the Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce.
No one knows for sure how many visitors show up, but estimates range anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people, Caughlin said.
After the July 4 parade, people start shooting off fireworks — and that goes on for hours, not even stopping during the professional show around 10 p.m.
The mess and damage caused during the uncontrolled fireworks have locals saying enough is enough.
“It’s just not safe,” said Caughlin, who knows there have been injuries. “People bring their small children into that, and that’s really horrible. And they want to blame us.”
Chamber members were meeting Thursday night to discuss whether to cancel the parade, the pancake breakfast and everything else in hopes of ensuring that the extracurricular fireworks don’t happen. They also could try to find some way to prevent the illegal activity without nixing all the holiday fun.
“It’s going to take the whole town to stop this,” said Caughlin, a former Hotshot firefighter who now owns Garden Valley Properties and Uncle Billy Bob’s Redneck Trailers Vacation Rentals.
The craziness of the holiday in Crouch has been recorded and posted online. It’s a chaotic scene of people drinking, running, dancing and partying, with fireworks exploding all around them. Some have on helmets.
A video by Adam Nawrot was edited and posted July 6, 2016, on the New York Post’s website under the headline, “A ‘redneck’ 4th of July that kind of makes you proud to be American.”
The caption under the video reads:
“Independence Day often evokes memories of family barbecues and town parades, not a penned-off area full of drunken adults playing with fireworks.” At least one person was injured but the festivities “still looked insanely fun,” The Post said.
Caughlin and other locals want people to come to Boise County — tourism is a major revenue source — but they want visitors to be respectful.
“Most of the time, our town is quiet and peaceful,” she said.