Eastsound fireworks display to continue


▼ Next year, staging may be from a barge


Eastsound fireworks celebrating Independence Day – the Fourth of July – has been an essential component of the great national celebration, local-style. Along with the parade through town, and the hot dogs and popcorn eaten to the melodies of the Community Band, the fireworks show above East Sound has taken place every year, halted only by hazardous conditions such as high winds in 2005.

“It’s a ritual we love to celebrate, as businesses and as families – we all come together in one place – just to enjoy the exciting and awesome fireworks display,” says Kathleen Speed, a board member of the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber puts on the fireworks display for everyone – and while the community has always helped make it happen with their donations, this year the Chamber is asking for more help than usual.

An 11th-hour reprieve on June 6 by the Bureau of Land Management will allow the Chamber to set off fireworks from Indian Island as it has in years past. However, the BLM is requiring the Chamber to obtain additional insurance, and so the chamber is putting out the call. The writing may be on the wall. “All indications are that future fireworks must be staged off a barge,” said Lance Evans, Executive Director of the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce. Costs to place a barge in the middle of East Sound for a fireworks show would amount to about $1,000, if paid for this year, for fuel costs alone, said Evans. In all likelihood, the costs will be higher next year.

This year, the traditional fireworks show will once again take place on Friday evening, July 4 at the Waterfront Park in Eastsound. The band will play, hot dogs will be eaten, and, weather permitting, the show will go on, celebrating small-town America and community neighborliness.

“Island visitors come particularly to celebrate the sense of community in the glorious holiday weekend with a sky that will come alive with fireworks,” says Speed. “We want the show to go on, but need your help.”

The fireworks display is paid for entirely by community donations, Evans said. Donation cans will be put out around town, and the Chamber will make them available to any business that would like one. “Or if you’d just like to send a check or stop by the Chamber with a credit card, we’d be ever grateful,” says Speed.

The Chamber will sponsor the Community Parade on Saturday, July 5, with the theme, “Celebrate the Classics” and invites all local organizations to participate.

For more information, call Chamber offices at 376-2273.