Without a doubt, the annual Grand Old Fourth of July event is the island’s largest event of the year.
Perhaps the most anticipated part of the holiday is the spectacular display of bright colors against the darkened sky above Eagle Harbor.
That showcase, however, isn’t cheap.
Local nonprofit organization, Bainbridge Fireworks, foots the bill for the display each year. This year, the grand total will be $30,000 for a 15-minute show. To date, about half of those funds have been raised.
“The whole mission [of the organization] is just July Fourth fireworks,” said Scott Isenman, president and director of operations and safety for Bainbridge Fireworks.”To me, it’s just an extension of our Grand Old Fourth. The community makes the whole event happen. The fireworks show is the big capstone for the end of the day.”
Each year, the nonprofit asks the community for sponsorship and donations to purchase the fireworks, and it has been a success, Isenman said.
Most of the funds will go toward the purchase of the fireworks and the hiring of the pyrotechnician in charge of it. There will also be a fee for the barge rental and tug service, which is where the fireworks are launched from at the event.
“We definitely need people to be aware that we need their support,” he said. “If people lose focus, and we don’t get the donations, we can’t go forward year after year.”
Going seven years strong, the group of four Bainbridge Fireworks volunteers somehow always find money to let the show go on.
“We’ve been getting consistent support year after year,” Isenman said, noting that local businesses have been a key part of the project.
The display, he said, is a way to keep families safe from injuries or accidental fires that might otherwise erupt from a personal fireworks show on private property. Additionally, he and the other volunteers agree that the fireworks in the Eagle Harbor show are unique purchases from wholesalers that can’t be found elsewhere.
Some of the most unusual fireworks are on display at the event, including ones that dip into the water. The shells are launched from the barge, skip across the water and shoot a fountain out of the water. Or, some spin off into the air before exploding.
Featuring explosives up to 12 inches in diameter, the show is ultimately “pretty impressive,” Isenman admitted.
For residents who wish to help, but cannot donate, Isenman and fellow volunteers will comb the Pritchard Park beach for trash left behind by party-goers the two days following July 4.
“It’s a pretty amazing mess there [afterward],” he said. “We need to sweep the beach manually. We can always use more help with that.”
For more information on viewing areas, time of the display, volunteering and other additional holiday details, visit www.bainbridgefireworks.org.