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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

July 5th show

Town soldiers on after fireworks truck stalls

Sometimes, even America gets a belated birthday greeting.

That was the case in Republic, Wash., where the Chamber of Commerce had to postpone the town’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show after the truck delivering the fireworks broke down.

Rather than canceling the show, Chamber of Commerce President Jim Milner elected to push it back a day.

Milner admits it’s a bit strange to celebrate Independence Day on July 5 but said “it was better to do it that way than not at all.”

“I think for the most part the people in the community agree with us on that,” he said.

The show costs about $6,000 and is entirely funded by donations, said organizer Bobbi Weller, and planning begins in April. Weller estimated a few hundred people drove into town from the surrounding rural areas to watch the show.

“It’s not huge, but it’s a nice enough show that attracts the people that want to come and see it,” she said.

The fireworks show is one of the only major annual events in Republic, population 1,073. It’s an informal celebration, with a live band and picnicking families, but people look forward to seeing the fireworks over the lake, Milner said.

“We only see fireworks once a year,” he said. “We figure the people involved put too much work in it to completely cancel.”

Organizers order the fireworks from a supply company in Chehalis, Wash., almost a seven-hour drive from Republic. Somewhere along the way, the delivery truck broke down and was not repairable.

In 59 years of living in Republic and several years of helping with the show, Weller’s never seen anything like this happen.

“It was kind of bad,” Weller said. “You just roll with the punches and do what you can.”

Through phone calls, word of mouth and social media, organizers were able to tell people lining up along the lake and the highways to come back Friday.

But even Friday’s shipment of fireworks didn’t make it in time. The delivery didn’t arrive until 8:30 p.m., which didn’t give enough time to wire the shells and float them out onto the lake. Instead, they shot the fireworks from the shore.

“We certainly couldn’t cancel for the second night,” Weller said.

After Thursday’s announcement, homeowners along the lake shot off their own fireworks along the lake, Weller said.

“We had a show anyway,” she said. “Just not the big one that everyone was expecting.”

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