Drones are out for next year’s Fourth of July, but fireworks might be going up in Sequim skies instead.
Sequim city councilors on July 13 asked Barbara Hanna, Sequim’s marketing and communications director, to seek a proposal for a public fireworks show on July 4, 2021.
Hanna said she spoke to neighboring communities about their fireworks shows and learned that a 30-40 minute show could cost between $15,000-$20,000.
She was given a company’s reference number and said “it’s an option for moving forward.”
In recent months, Sequim city councilors and staff considered an illuminated drone show at the recommendation of city councilor Dennis Smith. Hanna received an estimate from Firefly Drone Shows that would cost $46,410 for a 15-minute choreographed show with 100 drones on July 4, 2021.
While city councilors liked the idea of bringing back a drone show following the city’s first Sequim Sunshine Festival in March, the cost was too high for some compared to the $32,800 the city paid earlier this year in the company’s offseason.
City councilor Troy Tenneson said “the drones would be cool but double the cost (of fireworks) plus extra for lodging.
“Right now, fireworks is making a good case for itself.”
Mayor William Armacost said the early estimate for fireworks is “reasonable.”
“For a better bang for our buck, the fireworks is a good direction to go,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Tom Ferrell said, “there’s nothing like the smell of fireworks on the Fourth of July.”
Following a request by councilors earlier this month, the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC), a committee of hotels, bed and breakfasts and tourism officials, recommended not to use its hotel/motel tax funds through the city to support a Fourth of July drone show because they felt it should remain an anchor to the Sequim Sunshine Festival.
Hanna said she could ask the LTAC about funding a fireworks show, and consider options to seek sponsors for a potential fireworks show.
“My concern is that everybody is struggling a little bit right now,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s as feasible as it would have been a year ago.”
Smith said his mind wasn’t “wrapped around drones” and that he’d be for a fireworks show.
He said the start of the idea came after city residents agreed in an advisory vote to ban the discharge of fireworks in November 2016, with 65.6 percent in favor with city councilors passing the ban soon afterward.
“There were several citizens that came forward and said, ‘OK city, why don’t you put (a public show) forward?’” Smith said.
No date was set for when city councilors would consider a fireworks show proposal. City Manager Charlie Bush said earlier this month it could be added to the city’s 2021 budget if needed.