A laser show is set to replace the fireworks display on the Fourth of July at Longview’s Go 4th Festival due to a shortage of available companies.
A licensed operator to put on a public fireworks display could not be booked for the event scheduled Saturday, July 2, through Monday, July 4, said longtime organizer Arleen Hubble.
Instead, a laser show, accompanied by music, will light up the sky the Fourth of July night.
Hubble said a bid for the event’s fireworks display was publicized in the usual amount of time, but no companies responded. She said last year’s operator already made plans.
People are also reading…
Trevor Smith, a licensed pyrotechnic operator out of Chehalis, said he suspects events organizers are struggling to book shows because a large Olympia-based fireworks display company called Entertainment Fireworks recently closed and supply chain backups are minimizing inventory.
Smith, who has been booked for a 2022 Independence Day celebration for two years, said public fireworks displays have two requirements: a licensed operator, like himself, as well as a licensed company, like his own Nighttrain Fireworks.
The Washington state fire marshal regulates fireworks licenses in the state. The department reports 12 companies in the state are licensed to put on public fireworks displays, and 183 people are permitted as pyrotechnic operators in 2022.
Despite the popularity of fireworks in Cowlitz County, there are no local licensed pyrotechnic operators or companies licensed for displays.
However, there are dozens of local licensed fireworks stands. State data shows Cowlitz County has the fourth most licensed fireworks stands in the state this year, behind Pierce, Snohomish and Clark counties. Fireworks stands sell items, like Roman candles, which can be lit in neighborhoods, but not the large fireworks set off at public events like Go 4th.
Another popular regional fireworks show also was canceled this Fourth of July.
The Historic Trust of Vancouver announced last month a smaller, fireworks-free Independence Day celebration called Summer Fest will permanently replace the city’s usual larger event with fireworks due to issues like cost and wildfire risks.
The Historic Trust Marketing and Events Director Amy VanCamp said the availability of fireworks operators was not part of the organization’s decision to cancel its display.
Instead of the typical event, The Historic Trust is hosting a free event on July 3 called Summer Fest at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver. The event plans to include live music, games and a movie to be played at dusk.