Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fireworks with a bang

Publised By Cache Valley Daily

Fireworks West Co-Owner Dean Burch will be the keynote speaker at tonight's speaker series sponsored by the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau. Burch will speak at 7 p.m. at the historic Cache County Court House, 199 North Main.

Based in Cache Valley, Fireworks West has done fireworks shows throughout the United States, including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and Logan's annual Independence Day Celebration. Burch will show videos and photographs of the Olympics extravaganza and bring some of the shells the company uses to light up the sky at these spectacular events.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

McIvor lights up the sky with fireworks display

Posted By Sheena Read, Editor

Twenty years of doing the fireworks display in Nanton has been a blast, says Time McIvor.

McIvor has seen enourmous changes to both the technology of fireworks and the industry in the past two decades.

“I've gone from running around at Centennial Park with a propane torch to being involved in some of the biggest fireworks of this country,” he says, having taken part in the Montreal fireworks competition,

formerly called the Symphony of Fire, with 10 or 11 countries competing.

“It was absolutely massive,” he says.

“We use computers now. This show in Nanton is going to be fired from my iPod,” says McIvor. “We used to have a tape that we used to run, we changed that to cds, and now I work from an iPod,”

McIvor says the technology of fireworks has gone through an evolution as well.

Fireworks as we understand today are basically 300 years old. Originally fireworks was basically gold in colour because of the charcoal used.

“What changed is they started to make it as an entertainment thing – prior to that was for religious purposes or for combat.”

McIvor explains that black powder used by the Chinese was used for traditional aspects. Europeans turned the use of powder into cannon, and added chemicals to get high-energy colours.

As a result, Spanish fireworks are renowned for using a wide array of colours.

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“It's possible to literally shoot a rainbow of fire.”

When McIvor first started doing the Nanton fireworks, he operated on a budget exactly 1/10 of what this year's event will cost. At that time, he purchased the fireworks by retail, but now deals with several distributors. He says Hans Pyrotechnics is one of the oldest companies in Canada for pyrotechnics, and has been in operation for over 100 years.

“We first started bringing in a lot of American, then Spanish,” says McIvor. “the difference between the americans and Europeans in terms of shells, is that the americans (and this is a very broad statement) uses salutes, which means there is lots of noise,” as opposed to the colours used in European style fireworks.

Using Chinese fireworks has been a learning process. First shipments were low profile and low quality, says McIvor, with fuses that had fewer threads, and as a result, were not up to standards. Chinese fireworks were introduced into the American market when the market was demanding quantity, rather than quality.

In Canada, every colour and every package has been analyzed by the government to ensure standards are met.

After that initial supply of Chinese product, McIvor says they insisted on better materials, and now they have three or four lines of fireworks they deal with.

McIvor also uses some Italian fireworks, which are famous for a particular type of shell. While all fireworks use a ball or cylinder shell, Italians build a multi-break cylindrical shell.

“I have seen some italian shells that have had 13 breaks, half gong off on the way up and half down,” he says. The downfall is that you never know where it's going to come down.

“The first time I fired a multi break in Nanton, the third break went off about 15 feet over my head,” he says.

In order to determine how far a shell will travel, you take the calibre inch and add two zeroes to the end of it.

“That's how many feet high it will go and the size of hole it will blow in the sky,” says McIvor.

Although one year he shot an 8-inch shell, tightening up of regulations for safety distances has meant a change in sizes. He's using a 4 to 6-inch shell for part of the finale, and will be using 60 5-inch shells for the primary part of the show.

The change in regulations has meant that Lions' Park is almost becoming too small for the fireworks. To meet the changes, different sizes of shells are used.

“Even though our shows are going down in size, the intensity and impact of the show is going up. What we're seeing is busier shows with more product,”

The show will be a fire musical, scripted and synchronized to music.

McIvor says it's the perfect opportunity to do something he's never done before. Although most other fireworks shows have done it, Nanton's 20 anniversary of fireworks will be the first time he has ever used the 1812 Overture.

“We can make fireworks literally dance, because of the technology.”

The show will be a minimum of 12.5 minutes, based on the musical score, but that can be extended, he says, if additional funds are found for the display.

McIvor has come a long way from those first fireworks, where he and wife Maggie did the entire show themselves, which took them until 4 a.m. to finally clean up after. Over the years, he has used Nanton as a training field for others interested in learning the craft of fireworks, and Nanton has enjoyed incredible shows because of the talent and work being brought in.

“I'm very proud of what we've done here,” says McIvor, and continues to pass on the lessons he's learned in Nanton.

He says the event would never take place if it wasn't for all the volunteer work that occurs to make the show a success, from local volunteer efforts for such issues as traffic control, to the volunteer crew that helps put on the show. He's hoping to have between 12 to 15 people helping him in the display this year.

The end result, McIvor says, is something that everyone, regardless of age, “can enjoy with unreserved joy.”

Sunday, July 5, 2009

From industry standpoint, fireworks should skyrocket

The time is long overdue to change the fireworks laws in New York to provide for sensible and regulated use of all consumer fireworks. Forty- five states now allow some level of consumer fireworks, and the national trend has been to liberalize the fireworks laws.

Statistics released by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show a reduction from 12,500 estimated fireworks-related injuries in 1994 to only 9,800 in 2007, a reduction of more than 21 percent.

In 1994, America imported 117 million pounds of fireworks, rising to 265.5 million pounds in 2007, an increase of more than 125 percent. When you factor in usage, based on injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used, fireworks-related injuries were reduced by 65.42 percent from 1994 to 2007. That is impressive.

The 1994 time frame is meaningful. In 1994, the American Fireworks Standards laboratory began its quality improvement program and testing of the fireworks at the factory level in China prior to the products being permitted to be exported to the United States.
Most consumer products with which any degree of risk is associated, such as ATVs, personal watercraft, trampolines and the like, produce increased injuries along with increased use. Not so with consumer fireworks, where use has increased and injuries have decreased.
Indiana legalized the regulated use of consumer fireworks in 2006, and the result is more tax revenue and more employment for Indiana, along with an amazing reduction in fireworks-related injuries over the three seasons.

We have an American fireworks-buying public that respects the products and follows the suggested safety rules to keep fireworks use safe and keep injuries down.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, anti-fireworks groups continue to misrepresent the truth about fireworks-related injuries. The facts cannot be disputed. Fireworks-related injuries have decreased at a time when fireworks use has significantly increased.

We Americans have celebrated our heritage of freedom with fireworks since 1776 when then-future President John Adams suggested in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade . . . bonfires and illuminations [fireworks] from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”

The New York State Legislature should reconsider the outdated consumer fireworks laws. Citizens should support the right to celebrate freedom with fireworks in the spirit of Adams, and the sensible and regulated use of consumer fireworks. Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.

William A. Weimer is vice president of Phantom Fireworks, headquartered in Ohio. New York law specifically prohibits consumer fireworks including firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, bombs and sparklers. Only limited novelty items are legal without permits.

By William A. Weimer

Fireworks safety demonstration using fruit fizzles

No fruits or vegetables were harmed at a fireworks safety press conference Wednesday. The reporters were a little spooked, though.

The assembled public safety officials had intended to use a watermelon and a squash to demonstrate the kind of damage fireworks can do to a person’s body.

They also used the occasion to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in the city of Houston, and the sale and use of aerial fireworks are banned in Harris County because of the dry weather over the last month.

“Our top priority is everybody’s safety,” Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery said. “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Please be considerate — enjoy the holiday, enjoy yourself, enjoy our freedoms, but please be safe while you do it.”

Then it was time to blow up fruits and veggies. Or at least try.

The watermelon coughed up some sparks, then expelled a small puff of smoke. A second attempt, this time with an M60 (think really loud firecracker) was similarly unsuccessful: The M60 shot out of the melon and landed harmlessly in the parking lot 15 feet away. A similar assault on a squash met with similar results.

A demonstration involving black cats was only slight more successful, but a string of firecrackers went off too early, sending pieces flying into the crowd of surprised reporters.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Don't get BURNED: Fireworks safety a must, especially over the July 4 holiday season

Experts are encouraging area residents to be cautious when using fireworks during the July 4 holiday season as hundreds of people are treated in emergency rooms nationwide each year for injuries associated these devices.

According to the Ohio fire marshal's office, the only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices that smoke, sparkle or snap.

Napoleon Fire Chief Bob Bennett said even these devices should be treated with common sense and respect.

"They should be very careful and adult supervision should be involved. Sparklers burn at nearly 2,000 degrees," Bennett said. "Pay attention to the ground conditions. We don't need any grass fires."

Other fireworks -- even those purchased at stores in Ohio -- cannot be legally discharged in Ohio.

"You must be at least 18 years of age to buy items such as firecrackers and bottle rockets at the stores you see along the roadways of Ohio," Donald Cooper, interim state fire marshal, said in a press release, "but firing them off within state boundaries is prohibited."

Under state law, stiff penalties can be applied for the illegal possession or discharge of fireworks. It is a first-degree misdemeanor for non-licensed individuals to set off fireworks in Ohio, to falsify an application when purchasing fireworks, or to possess them for more than 48 hours without taking them out of state.

First-time offenders are subject to a maximum $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2007, nearly 9,800 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks.

More than half of these injuries were burns, and most involved children ages 10-14.

"The best way for Ohioans to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional fireworks exhibition," said Cooper. "Keep in mind that even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury."

Cooper recommends the following safety tips for those using legal fireworks in Ohio:

-- Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision.

-- Carefully read and follow label directions on trick and novelty device packaging.

-- Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from the body and other people.

-- Sparkler wires should be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.

-- If a person is burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.

Local professional fireworks displays are scheduled for Friday in Defiance and Saturday in Napoleon.

Economy snuffs some Georgia fireworks shows

By Alyse Knorr
Gwinnett Glows, Duluth event canceled

The economic slowdown has left many Georgia governments struggling to find bucks for their bang this Fourth of July.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Gwinnett County has had to cancel its Gwinnett Glows Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Gwinnett County spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said officials last fall began to anticipate shortfalls in the county budget that made the celebration too costly to put on.

Sawyer said the event usually costs about $200,000, with about $85,000 coming from corporate sponsorships and the county paying the rest.

Sawyer said she does not expect Gwinnett to put on the pyrotechnic display next year, either.

“I think people are saddened by it, but I think for the most part folks have been understanding,” Sawyer said. “As many people as would have liked to see a nice fireworks show, if we did it there would probably be just as many people who would say that it’s not a good way to spend our money.”

Marcia Hampton, director of the Douglasville Community and Downtown Services Department, said the city was also planning to cancel its annual fireworks display until it found two last-minute sponsors of Saturday’s show.

Hampton said Greystone Power Corp. and Gas South contributed $5,000 each for Douglasville’s fireworks show, which has taken place for more than 20 years.

“A lot of people stay around the house during major holidays, and with the downturn in the economy, we think a lot of folks will be even more inclined to stay around the home, so it was very important to us to go out and find sponsorships,” said Tracie Ivey, Douglasville Parks and Recreation director.

Duluth City Clerk Teresa Lynn said the poor economy made officials question whether or not to have the celebration this year. The city decided to put it on when the bands performing at this year’s event — the Army Ground Forces Band, Loose Cannons and the Woody’s — volunteered to play for free.

Lynn said city staff members will collect donations from the public to help pay the $9,000 to $10,000 cost of Duluth’s fireworks display on Friday.

Elsewhere around the state, two traditional fireworks displays in Tift County have been canceled due to the economy: an annual show at the Georgia Agrirama and a show in Omega sponsored by Patrick Farms.

Fireworks displays in Peachtree City, Roswell, Stone Mountain Park, Acworth, Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta and Alpharetta will go on. Marietta’s event will be combined with a celebration for the city’s 175th anniversary.

Colorado fireworks displays and Independence Day activities

By The Denver Post
How does Colorado celebrate Independence Day?

With a horseshoe tournament in Winter Park, a twangfest in Boulder, a pie-eating contest in downtown Denver.

And, fireworks, of course, across every sky.

This weekend's party commemorates everything American, and there's an event for just about everyone's taste. The prices are right, too: So many of this weekend's big offerings are free.

Our good advice: Look beyond your own municipal borders for new ways to celebrate a fun Fourth. This list offers plenty of opportunity.

Bandimere Family Festival

Sat: Fourth of July celebration with Jet Car Nationals, games, drag racing and more, 3 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. $18,

$16 senior and military, $12 ages

6-12, free for ages 5 and under. $10 parking. C-470 and Morrison Road, Morrison,

Boom Town

Sat: City of Black Hawk's fireworks display.

Breckenridge Celebration

Sat: Fourth of July parade, kids activities, fireworks and more. Riverwalk Center, 970-453-2913,

Breckenridge Art Festival

Friday-Sun: The festival features a wide array of art, including painting, metal, wood, glass, ceramics, sculpture, photography and jewelry, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Main Street Station and The Village at Breckenridge, South Main Street and Park Avenue, 970-547-9326,

Cherry Creek Art Festival

Friday-Sat: The 19th annual festival showcases visual, culinary, performing and interactive arts for the whole family, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Festival Nights: Music on Fillmore Street, 8-10 p.m. July 3-4. Free. Cherry Creek North, from East Second and Third avenues, 303-355-2787,

Paonia Cherry Days Festival

Friday-Sun: Hometown fun includes pancake breakfast, sidewalk sales, cherry cook-off, art shows, carnival, dance, 5K run/walk, parade and more.

Paonia, 970-527-3886,

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Friday:Watch Fort Carson's fireworks from the Cheyenne Mountain State Park amphitheater with guitar music of Adam Gardino and the Acme Bluegrass Band. Kid's activities all day. $6 per car.410 Jl Ranch Hts., Colorado Springs, 719- 576-2016.

Creede Days of '92 Mining Competitions

Friday-Sat: Hard rock mining competitions beginning at 9 a.m. each day. On July 4th a parade at 10 a.m., beer garden and vendor and craft booths (both days). Dance to live music at 9 p.m. on July 3 and after the fireworks on July 4 at the Creede Elks Club. Fireworks at dusk from Inspiration Point. Creede, 719-658-2374

Estes Park Celebration

Sat: Features Arabian Sport Horse Championships, vintage car show, live music and more. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. 800-443-7837,

Family Fourth at the Ranch - Colorado Springs

Sat: Carnival games, historic re-enactments and patriotic music, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $6, $4 seniors and ages 13-18, $2 ages 12 and under, free for active-duty and retired military with an ID. Rock Ledge Ranch, North 30th Street and Gateway Road, Colorado Springs, 719-578-6986

Kremmling's Fire Up the Cliffs

Sat: KVFD BBQ, live music, annual Mud Shuffle and Calcutta, and fireworks. Kremmling, 970-724-3472,

Grand Lake Fireworks Extravaganza

Sat: The village of Grand Lake hosts a fireworks show at dusk. 970-627-3402,

Glendale Fireworks Feast

Friday: Whole Foods Market hosts its annual outdoor party featuring live music, entertainment and food, 5-9 p.m. City of Glendale's fireworks display starts at dusk. 870 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale, 303-564-3845

Fourth of July Downtown Fort Collins

Sat: Festivities include live music, a beer garden, pie-eating contest, petting zoo, games and more. Fireworks over Sheldon Lake at 9:30 p.m. 970-484-6500, Fort Collins, INVESCO FIELD AT MILE HIGH

Outlaws at INVESCO

Sat: The Denver Outlaws Lacrosse team and INVESCO Field at Mile High will celebrate Independence Day with live music, pre-party tailgate, kids interactive zone and more. Denver Outlaws vs. Boston Cannons game at 7 p.m. and close proximity fireworks at 9:30 p.m. INVESCO Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant St. Denver 720-258-3600

Commerce City Fourth FEST

Sat: The Colorado Rapids and Commerce City celebrate Independence Day with live music, picnics, kids interactive zone and more, 5 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire match at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City, 303-825-4625

Aspen Fourth of July Celebration

Sat: Festivities include a parade, U.S. Airforce jet flyby, concerts, a kids bicycle rodeo, and spectacular fireworks on Aspen Golf Course. Aspen, 970-925-9000

Golden Fourth of July Festival

Sat: Golden Lions Club celebration hosts a farmers market, raffle, music and more. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Lions Park, 10th and Maple streets, Golden, 303-384-9923

Salvation Army Fourth of July Picnic

Sat: The Salvation Army hosts its annual community picnic for veterans, the homeless and families, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 2136 Champa St., 303-860-5565

Fourth of July Twang Fest - Boulder

Sat: Gold Hill Inn hosts its annual Independence celebration featuring music by Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams, Jeff and Vida Band, and Finders and Youngberg, noon-5 p.m. $15 music, $27 music and food. 401 Main St., Boulder, 303-443-6461

Fraser Valley Fourth of July Celebration

Sat: Family fun includes sporting games, horseshoe tournament, picnic, live music and more. Fireworks at dusk. Fraser Sports Complex, County Road 5 at U.S. 40, Fraser, 970-726-4118,

Freedom Run - Evergreen

Sat: 5K run to benefit Mount Evans Hospice in Evergreen, 8 a.m. $25, $12 children in advance. $30, $15 children race-day; Evergreen Middle School, 2059 Hiwan Drive, Evergreen 303-674-6400,

Frisco Green Art Festival

Sat-Sun: Juried art fair in conjunction with the Town of Frisco's July 4 celebration, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 304 Main St., Frisco, 954-472-3755,

Fun at Bent's Fort - La Junta

Sat: Activities include a parade, games, Frontier cooking and more, 1:30-4:30 p.m. $3, $2 ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado 194, La Junta, 719-383-5010,

Georgetown Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

Sat: Parade, bingo, 5K race and stroll, bucket-brigade races and more, 8 a.m. Fireworks display at dusk. 303-569-2888

Granby Celebration

Sat: Independence Day parade and fireworks.970-887-23110,

Jamestown Fourth of July Celebration

Saturday: Pancake breakfast, parade, live music, kids games and more, 7:30 a.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m. 100 Main St., Jamestown, 303-442-5847

Kiowa 4th of July

Sat:Fireworks begin at dusk at the Elbert County Fairgrounds. Bull riding from 3-6 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Just north of Highway 86 on the Kiowa Bennett Rd..

Lakewood on Parade

Friday: Features games, rides, live music and more. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Jefferson County Sports Stadium, 400 Kipling St., Lakewood,

Leadville's July 4 Celebration

Sat-Sun: Festivities include the Firecracker 5K, Bluegrass Festival, luau and more. Leadville, 888-532-3845,

Let Freedom Sing "Red, White and Brews" Music Festival - Parker

Sat:Wendy Woo and others will perform at Parker Town Hall at 6 p.m.21020 E. Main St., 303-841-0354,

Aurora's Light Up the Night

Sat: Aurora's annual Fourth of July Spectacular features a performance by the Air Force Academy Falconaires Jazz Band and Air Force Academy Concert Band, 7 p.m. Fireworks at dusk. Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, 303-739-7756

Loveland's July 4 Celebration

Sat: Activities include car show, live music, dance performances and more. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. North Lake Park, 29th Street and Taft Avenue, Loveland, 970-962-2727

Mile High Rendezvous

Friday-Sun: Western-style entertainment featuring Michael Martin Murphey, Riders in the Sky, Don Edwards, and Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams. Family fun includes dance performances, storytelling, cowboy poetry, authentic chuck wagon and more. Fireworks Friday at dusk. $3, free for ages 12 and under. Mile High Market Place, I-76 and 88th Ave., 303-289-4656

Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration - Four Mile Historic Park, Denver

Sat: Festivities include performances by the Denver Concert Band, reading of the Declaration of Independence, games, crafts, wagon rides and more, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $7, $4 students and seniors, free for children age 5 and under. Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St., 720-865-0804

Peak to Peak Music Festival - Nederland

Sat: Live music, parade, pub crawl and fireworks. Nederland, 720-236-5190

Pikes Peak Arts Fest - Colorado Springs

Friday-Sun: Fine art, craft, microbrew and more, 4-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. America the Beautiful Park, Colorado Springs, 719-637-8049,

Ralphie's Independence Day Blast - Boulder

Sat: Performances by Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Open Space and Mountain Parks singing rangers, the Skip-Its jump-rope team and more, 8 p.m. Fireworks at dusk. Folsom Field, University of Colorado, Boulder, 303-441-3155

Red, White and Blue Fun - Gunnison/Crested Butte

Sat: Gunnison-Crested Butte hosts a pancake breakfast, run/walk/crawl race, parade, music, fireworks and more. 800-814-8893,

Royal Gorge July 4 Celebration

Friday-Sun: Musical performances by The Geezers, live demonstrations by the Nature and Raptor Center, face painting and more, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Cañon City, 719-275-7507,

Run for Independence - Winter Park

Sat: 5K run/walk and pancake breakfast, 7:30 a.m.Winter Park Resort 970-736-4118,

Avon's Salute to the USA

Friday: The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa celebrates Independence Day with live music, beer garden, carnival games, petting zoo and more, 5 p.m. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Harry A. Nottingham Park, Avon, 970-748-4032,

Arvada's Sea to Shining Sea

Friday: In their Arvada Center debut, music director Michael Butterman and the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra present patriotic classics, 7:30 p.m. $10-$28. Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 720-898-7200

Singles Picnic and Fireworks

Sat: Annual picnic for adult singles (ages 40-60)at the Foothills Golf Course Pavilion from 4-9 p.m. $15 per person for hamburgers, hotdogs, macaroni salad, fruit, chips, cookies, ice tea and soda. Sand volleyball, horseshoes, Bocce ball, croquet, and dancing. Bring a chair for viewing Pinehurst Country Club's fireworks. Cash bar.3901 So. Carr St.,

Englewood's Sounds of America

Sat: The Colorado Symphony Orchestra performs, 7:30 p.m. Fireworks at 9:40 p.m. $17, $15 seniors, $12 children ages 4-12. Fiddler's Green Amphitheater, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Englewood, 303-806-0444,

Arvada's Spirit of America

Sat: Arvada hosts family fun featuring live music, classic car show, kids park and and more, 3 p.m. July 4. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Lutz/Stenger Sports Complex, 10664 W. 58th Ave., Arvada, 720-898-7400

Dillon's Stars and Bars Boat Parade

Sat:The Dillon Yacht Club invites boaters to decorate their boats and set sail on Lake Dillon. Boats line up at 11:30 a.m. Parade begins at noon. Dillon Marina, Dillon, 303-629-6342,

Glenwood Springs' Symphony in the Valley

Sat:Free patriotic music concert at Two River Park from 8-9 p.m. with fireworks immediately following.Devereaux Road and Centennial St., Glenwood Springs, 970-945-4490.

Fun and Fireworks:Fourth of July celebrations are abundant

By: Shane Arthur
It’s easy to forget the Fourth of July is about more than just watching fireworks and drinking. In reality it is a day of remembrance for our ancestors who stood up for their freedoms in order to make a better country for the future. America has had its ups and downs, but the good old U.S.A. still remains as a gift from those founding fathers to us, their children—and for that we should be grateful.

Our country today is very much changed from what it was in its infancy, with new leadership, larger threats and fragile industries—but that is all the more reason that Independence Day should be a day when we set aside the individual and come together out of respect for the greater good. To be in Wilmington, North Carolina, celebrating on the same ground—and water—that was once known as part of the 13 colonies is truly something special. There can be few events more wonderful than spending the evening of July 4th lying on the deck of a boat, staring up at shining stars and fireworks, with friends and family all around, each one celebrating freedom in their own unique ways. Here’s how Wilmington can celebrate American independence this year:

Battleship Blast and Riverfront Celebration. Come see one of NC’s biggest fireworks displays at Wilmington’s 13th annual Battleship Blast, taking place along the Cape Fear River above the Battleship North Carolina. Beginning at 9:05pm, the fireworks can be viewed from most anywhere downtown. Tours of the battleship end when Eagles Island closes to the public at 6pm. WGNI 102.7 FM and WECT TV 6 will be covering the performance live. Food and music will be made available by the 440th North Carolina National Guard Band in Riverfront Park on Water Street from 5 to 10pm.

For parking information call 910-341-4602. Details about the Battleship Blast can be found by calling 910-251-5797 or visiting For the Riverfront Celebration, contact the Recreation Division at 910-341-7855.

Fourth of July River Cruises. View the fireworks from the deck of the famous Henrietta III riverboat on a three-hour tour from 6:30-9:30pm. In addition to the show, a dinner buffet will be included on board. Pre-paid reservations are required—tickets are $59. Boarding begins at 6pm from the riverfront dock located at Water and Dock streets. For more details call 800-676-0162 or visit

The Winner Party Boat departs from the Carolina Beach Marina at 6:30pm to sail across the river for a great view of Southport’s fireworks. Pre-paid reservations required for admission. Call 910-458-5356 or surf over to for more information.

Pleasure Island Fireworks Display. In addition to the usual free fireworks held every Thursday in the summer months near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk (with the exception of the week of 4th of July, when they will be held on Friday), Pleasure Island will also be having a special Independence Day fireworks display July 3rd at dusk. There will also be live music by classic-rock band Machine Gun at the Gazebo Stage located on Cape Fear Boulevard from 6:30-9:30pm.

And don’t forget all of Pleasure Island’s other attractions, including Carolina Beach State Park, the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and the NC Aquarium next door. There will be a free family movie (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, PG) on Sunday evening, July 5th, at Carolina Beach Lake Amphitheater. For more details call 910-458-8434 or browse .

Red, White and Blues Festival at Hugh MacRae Park. On July 4th from 12-3pm, Hugh MacRae Park (on the corner of Oleander and College) will be the site of a celebration that includes games, a 50/50 raffle and a music performance by Ten Dollar Thrill (winners of the 2008 Cape Fear Blues Challenge). Picnics and coolers are welcome, but limited to nothing stronger than beer or wine. No glass allowed. For more information e-mail

Cucalorus Membership Drive. The Cucalorus Film Festival is launching its 2009 membership drive with a Fourth of July celebration and Filmmaker Appreciation Day. The kickoff event will be held at Jengo’s Playhouse and will include food, fun and music. Local filmmakers will have the exclusive opportunity to submit their entries for the 15th annual festival.

Filmmakers that become members of Cucalorus on July 4th will be allowed to submit up to three films without paying an entry fee. The event will culminate in a bike parade from Jengo’s to the Cape Fear River to join ongoing downtown festivities and fireworks. For more information contact Dan Brawley at or 910-343-5995.

Southport 4th of July Celebration. Fourth of July in the Cape Fear region would not be complete without the famed North Carolina 4th of July Celebration. Still going strong after 37 years, the festival takes cues from the very first Independence Day festival in Southport 214 years ago: “The Festival of Free Men.” The community at large has kept the spirit of freedom alive and well ever since, and today the festival draws in participants from near and far.

Running from July 1st-4th, the festivities begin with Beach Day on the 1st and end with fireworks on the 4th, encompassing an array of activities in between. Events in which to partake and enjoy include the signature 4th of July parade, a Veterans Recognition Ceremony, flag ceremonies, live music by the waterfront, art and crafts, the Freedom Run and Walk, a Naturalization Ceremony and more. For more details, visit .