Alexandria New Year's Eve fireworks scrapped due to new law

Fireworks will not blast in the skies over Alexandria this year. (Photo: Flickr/Stephen Gunby)

The celebration will go on to ring in 2012 in Alexandria this Saturday night, but one typical sight will be conspicuously absent at midnight - fireworks.

A new Virginia law, which was enacted after several incidents in which people were injured while using pyrotechnics, have forced the organizers of "First Night Alexandria" to scrap the traditional fireworks show this year.

For 17 years, the city has shot fireworks off the George Washington Masonic Temple on the western edge of Old Town Alexandria. But this year, that show of lights will be replaced by a laser light show.

"They increased the setback laws so that they take the explosives further away from the people," says Ann Dorman, First Night Alexandria Director. "So there's just nowhere in an urban community like this where we could do the fireworks."

Organizers say this year will be even better than years past. There will be performances galore at 18 different locations and activities throughout the day for kids.

But perhaps the biggest draw will happen when the clock strikes midnight and a cannon launches 6,000 ping pong balls into the crowd.

Each ball comes with a number. If it matches 20 pre-assigned numbers, one lucky person will win $500.

You won't be declared the winner until you take a picture of it with the admission badge and post it on first night Alexandria's Facebook page.

If you're still hoping to see a full-on fireworks display, you're best bet will be the New Year’s Eve celebration in Baltimore at Inner Harbor.