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Wednesday, January 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Fireworks will light up sky

Spokane Valley company staging Fourth of July shows

Joely Gardiner, 4, prepares  to lead the pre-Fourth of July parade for the Cottage Childcare and Learning Center on Thursday in Post Falls.  (Kathy Plonka)
Joely Gardiner, 4, prepares to lead the pre-Fourth of July parade for the Cottage Childcare and Learning Center on Thursday in Post Falls. (Kathy Plonka)

The Spokane Valley fireworks company responsible for most of the July Fourth shows in the Inland Northwest is gearing up for its busiest day of the year.

Entertainment Fireworks stages 46 of the fireworks shows around this area, including those in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Pullman, Harrison, Sandpoint, Bayview and Wenatchee. This year, said Rich Vaughan, the company’s eastern regional manager, an old debate seems to have reared its head: Which is the biggest?

Vaughan said the question is moot because each show depends on the location and desires of the sponsor. Both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, for example, wanted their shows to last around 20 minutes, but their venues couldn’t be more different. Coeur d’Alene’s show is shot off barges in the middle of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Spokane’s show takes place in an amphitheater in Riverfront Park.

“It’s hard to compare the shows,” Vaughan said. “Each show is unique unto itself. Some people want their budget to go toward larger shells so their shell count goes down. It’s kind of a gray area. It depends what the sponsor wants.”

Organizers of the Coeur d’Alene show wanted the “grandeur of the big shells,” Vaughan said. “Next year, we’re pretty confident we can even take it to the next level. That’s really what they’re looking for. What it would entail would be multiple shoot sites, two or three barges choreographed shooting together.”

Spokane, he said, “wants a really nice, exciting show. They just want it really, really exciting. We do the best that we can to make that happen. You have to get real creative in a site like Boeing Amphitheater. You’re not able to spread it out and really get the wide area. You’ve got kind of a narrow tunnel to shoot from.”

Several months ago, organizers of Coeur d’Alene’s $30,000 show decided to cut it in half, but then changed their minds, said Debbie Berger, community fireworks fundraiser coordinator.

“Early on, we thought we would go down to 15 (thousand dollars) and I really just didn’t want to,” she said. “I truly did not want to do that. Other people were in agreement. We ultimately decided we were going to bite the bullet and dig a little deeper and work a little harder. It still would’ve been a good show, but … we want a great show.”

Partially because of that last-minute decision, fundraising for this year’s show was only about halfway there with three days to go, Berger said on Wednesday. But she isn’t worried. She’s been organizing the fundraising since 2005 and said every year funds roll in at the last minute.

“Within the next few days, it’s going to come together,” she said. “The donations are still coming in.”

The show begins around 9:45 p.m. Sunday over Lake Coeur d’Alene and more than 30,000 people are expected to attend. The fireworks cap a day in the Lake City that starts with the annual American Heroes parade at 11 a.m. on downtown streets. Spokane’s fireworks show in Riverfront Park starts at 10 p.m., after a day of concerts and entertainment in the park.

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