Let there be fireworks!

Published 1:42 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contributing Editor

An almost-last-minute donation by Lee Chevrolet means there will be “ooohs” and “aaahs” echoing over the Washington waterfront the evening of July 4, along with the sounds of fireworks exploding over the Pamlico River.
Although fireworks along Washington’s waterfront were not planned for this year’s Fourth of July because the city did not budget for them, a waterfront pyrotechnics display will take place about 9 p.m. Sunday (or as soon as it gets dark).
Lee Chevrolet is picking up the tab for the fireworks display, which costs $10,000.
“One of our salesmen saw it in the paper where there were not going to be any fireworks in the city this year,” said Steven Lee, 34, with Lee Chevrolet on Monday. “We were sitting around talking about it. … We decided we wanted to help.”
Lee said the company found out how much it would cost to put on a fireworks show and decided to cover that cost.
“Fourth of July — you always have fireworks,” Lee said.
With the cost of the pyrotechnics display covered, an effort to obtain the required permits started.
For a fireworks display over navigable waters, the Coast Guard requires an application for a marine-events permit be submitted at least 135 days before the event.
“We have all the permits,” said Kristi Hardison, events and facilities manager for the city. “We are good to go with everything.”
Hardison spent several days last week working to obtain the required permits. Her efforts paid off.
In May, Beaufort County approved a fireworks permit for the city. That permit is good for one year.
Although there aren’t going to be any other activities scheduled at the waterfront that evening, food concessions will be available before the fireworks show.
“We will be having food vendors on site — probably two — and snow cones,” Hardison said.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels, other foods and lemonade will be available, according to an e-mail sent by the Washington Harbor District Alliance to the Daily News on Monday.
Information about the vendors’ hours of operation and where they will be located was unclear Monday.
There’ have been a lot of fireworks-related inquiries in recent days concerning whether there would be a fireworks display over the river on July 4, said Lynn Lewis, the city’s tourism-development director.
“I think I’ve answered the phone four times today. Three of the four calls were about fireworks,” Lewis said Monday. “About 75 percent of our calls are about the fireworks.”
On Friday, after the Washington Tourism Development Authority posted a notice on its Web site informing people that the fireworks display would take place, “comments flooded in,” Lewis said. People are pleased that Lee Chevrolet is sponsoring the fireworks show, she added.
The fireworks show will take place in a familiar location.
“They’re going to be shooting them at the same location the Summer Festival fireworks were shot at,” said Robbie Rose, chief of Washington’s Fire-Rescue-EMS Department, on Monday.
The location is at a cleared area on the south side of the Pamlico River, Rose said.
Safety precautions will be in place during the event, he said.
“We our going to have our boat out there,” Rose said.
Boats from the Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission also will be patrolling the area, he said. The Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department will have personnel and equipment on standby outside the area where the fireworks show will be staged, Rose said.