Ilwaco plans big fireworks show July 5; first in 39 years

The City and the Port of Ilwaco crew hoist the banner for the Ilwaco fireworks display. The show will be held Saturday July 5th at the marina. In the bucket is Mike Doan with assistance from Chris Staudenraus and Jamie Sowers. MACK FUNK photo

ILWACO - For the first time since 1964, a fireworks display is planned for the Fourth of July weekend in Ilwaco. The display begins at dusk on Saturday, July 5, at the Port of Ilwaco east of the boat ramp area.

Back in June 1959, a fireworks show by the Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department heralded the dedication of the then-new mooring basin at the port.

In 1960 another show, "bigger and better than before," was at the outer breakwater at the port, and again in 1963. That was the last fireworks show at the port.

"We are so excited. This has involved the whole community," said Jeanne Lord of Festivals Coffee Net at the port. Lord is chairwoman of the fireworks committee. She said the idea for the show came about after a conversation at her coffee house with Ilwaco Mayor Ed Leonard. "Over the centuries, some of the best ideas have been hatched by people talking over coffee," she said.

Lawrence Wallin, a 25-year IVFD member who also served as chief of the department off and on., remembers a "drastic happening" at a past show.

"We were shooting the fireworks off and, unbeknownst to us, two jets were flying low along the coast," said Wallin. "The fireworks went off right behind them. They must have thought we were shooting at them because they took off fast."

The July 5 show will have safety monitors in place including IVFD, Long Beach Police Department and the U.S. Coast Guard monitoring the show from the water. Licensed pyrotechnician Rick Gray will be in charge of the display.

Lord said volunteers are needed to direct parking. The show is open to the public at no charge.

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