After a 2020 without fireworks, many Washington cities are going forward with their Fourth of July fireworks shows in 2021 while following COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Seafair along with the cities of Tacoma, Kent, Federal Way and Kirkland are among those with canceled fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Bellevue, Everett, Edmonds, Arlington, Snoqualmie, Bellingham, Carnation and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord are all hosting their annual shows.
The Bellevue Downtown Association, which puts on Bellevue’s annual fireworks show, has had to adapt the event to adhere to safety protocols, according to Bellevue Downtown Association Vice President Mike Ogliore.
“In the past, we’ve called it Bellevue Family Fourth, and this year we’re pivoting to have it be Bellevue Fourth of July Fireworks, with just a focus on the fireworks. That’s what the experience is going to be,” Ogliore said. “There’s no main stage, there’s no live entertainment, there’s no family fun zone, it’s only going to be a fireworks display.”
Last year, fireworks retailers saw record numbers of sales as shows were canceled and people celebrated in their homes, according to Phantom Fireworks, the nation’s top consumer fireworks retailer. This year, Phantom Fireworks is encouraging consumers to make their purchases early because the industry faces supply chain issues.
“Like many other industries, the fireworks industry has also experienced delays due to shipment challenges facing the global market,” said Alan L. Zoldan, Phantom Fireworks executive vice president, in a news release. “The good news is that we prepared early in anticipation of high demand again this year, and are encouraging Phantom customers to do the same.”
Joel Cowart, co-owner of Pyroland Fireworks in Sumner, said sales have been up this year.
“Nationwide, sales were up and more people were celebrating because they were locked up at home,” Cowart said. “Because of that, almost all fireworks distributors and wholesalers across the nation were completely depleted.”
Cowart added that because of changes in China’s shipping regulations, it has been difficult to fully restock, and people have been buying early because of concerns about the shortage.
Bellevue is adapting their event to accommodate the community’s comfort level and encourage people to attend.
“We are offering a livestream option, so for those folks that want to experience it but from the safety of their own seats, they can do so,” Ogliore said. “Other folks that are ready to enjoy it in person are free to do so. We believe in the good of humanity and I think people are ready to safely and kindly gather and experience this community event.”
Most cities already have a fireworks ban within their limits. Fireworks will be illegal in unincorporated parts of King County starting in 2022 after the King County Council approved a ban on April 27.
This July 4 will be the last one that residents of unincorporated King County can legally light their own fireworks.
However, there are already some restrictions on what kinds of fireworks are allowed. For more information on what is currently legal in unincorporated King County, check here: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/local-services/news/2020/20200626-Fireworks-safety.aspx