City of Sequim staff will begin negotiations to bring a fireworks show to Carrie Blake Community Park on Independence Day. In non-pandemic years, Sequim hosts fireworks each May for the Sequim Irrigation Festival Logging Show, as seen here in 2018. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

City in negotiations for Fourth of July fireworks show

Contingency plan allows for other dates if pandemic persists

Plans are forming for fireworks this Fourth of July in Sequim, barring any setbacks with the pandemic.

Barbara Hanna, Sequim’s marketing and communications director, got the OK in an unofficial vote from city councilors Monday night to proceed with negotiations with Western Display Fireworks of Canby, Ore.

She said during the Feb. 8 city council meeting that the company proposed a 20-minute show for $15,000.

Hanna said city councilors approved the Sequim Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) budget last year where funds are budgeted for the show.

Hanna said the show would likely be held at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 4.

“With our community, I’m not sure we’d want to do it later (to not conflict with Port Angeles’ planned fireworks),” she said.

After scouting locations with the city’s public works staff and fireworks display staff, Hanna said organizers felt the Albert Haller Playfields in the northern part of Carrie Blake Community Park would be best because it’s open, irrigated and features ample nearby parking.

Hanna said the fireworks company staff told her they did a show last summer in a ball field similar to Sequim’s proposed location and “it worked well” because “people just hung out with their families at their cars” for social distancing measures.

A 25 percent deposit is due now, she said, with another 25 percent due 30 days in advance of the show as the company would begin preparations to bring fireworks to the city.

Normally, the company have a 90-day policy for date conflicts, but because of the pandemic and possible regulation changes, Western Display Fireworks was willing to extend a contract through New Year’s Eve, Hanna said.

“Hopefully by July we won’t have to wait,” she said.

Alternative dates could include Labor Day or New Year’s Eve for fireworks, city staff identified.

Discussions for fireworks began after former mayor and councilor Dennis Smith suggested city staff look into an illuminated drone show on the Fourth of July, similar to Sequim’s Sunshine Festival show on March 7, 2020.

Smith’s goal was to provide a city Fourth of July celebration in some manner after residents decided in an advisory vote to ban the discharge of fireworks in November 2016 (65.6 percent in favor). City councilors passed the ban soon after the vote.

However, Hanna received a quote of $46,410 for a 15-minute drone show for the date, which councilors found too costly compared to the $32,800 March show during the company’s offseason.

Councilors asked Hanna to consult with the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee — a committee of hotel, bed and breakfast and tourism officials — but they recommended not to use hotel/motel tax funds to support a Fourth of July drone show because they felt it should remain a Sequim Sunshine Festival staple.

The committee later agreed to a fireworks show.

Sequim’s proposed Independence Day fireworks show would be the second of its kind in the city following the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Logging Show on the second weekend of May. Because of gathering restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, festival organizers held a virtual festival in 2020 with an online display of fireworks from previous years.

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