PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – A famed fireworks company is pulling out of a holiday boat parade because "Christmas" was dropped from the event's name.
Fireworks by Grucci won't lend its sparkle to Patchogue's Nov. 23 parade — decorated yachts on the Patchogue River — because the organizers have renamed it the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. It was the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade last year, when the Grucci company donated $5,000 worth of fireworks.
The company's vice president, Philip Butler, who has criticized the secularization of Christmas in the past, said parade organizers were "using all the themes of Christmas and plagiarizing all those themes."
Organizers in the town on Long Island, near New York City, said the parade has had several names over its roughly 15-year existence. The name was changed again this year after complaints that the use of "Christmas" seemed to make the parade less inclusive.
"When I think about fireworks, I don't think about Christmas anyway," Mayor Paul Pontieri said.
The venerable Grucci company is famous for providing spectacular fireworks displays at major national celebrations. It is based in Brookhaven, not far from Patchogue.