Fireworks Preparation

Written and Submitted by ALSC President, Lonnie Goulet

Have you ever wondered what it takes to put together the fireworks show over Angle Lake? I had never given it much thought until being faced with the responsibility of actually having to coordinate the necessary planning and preparations.  The following provides an overview of what is involved.

The first task at hand is to determine a budget that will define the scope of the show.  This is decided once we know what money will be available to us through neighborhood donations and auxiliary funding. This includes any financial contribution the City of SeaTac pledges as Co-Sponsor of the show. The president of the Angle Lake Shore Club submits a funding request into the City Parks and Recreation Department each year asking for inclusion into the annual department budget. Of course approval of the budget line item only ensures that money will be set aside but does not guarantee contribution will be made. Approval for the disbursement of these funds is not done until the spring when City Council votes approval on the Purchase Request. Funding approval for the past two years had been delayed each time resulting in a vote of 5 to 2 authorizing funds in the amount of $10,000.00. Once approval is granted a contract between the ALSC and The City is documented and signed into agreement.

Next the process of soliciting bids leads to the hiring a fireworks contractor.  The list of potential bidders is quickly reduced when faced with the requirement that the contractor must provide a barge or  platform to launch the show from. Once it is determined that all requirements can be met a successful bidder is selected and a contract is then negotiated and entered into with the Fireworks contractor. As a result of this process Eagle Fireworks, Inc. out of Chehalis, WA, shall be performing the show again this year. The contractor is also required to secure the necessary operational safety permits, provide all beneficial insurance coverages for the show and comply with all City requirements under the Fire Marshal, local ordinances and all conditions specified in the contract between the ALSC and the City.

The next challenge is to secure a location from which the contractor can stage the show from.  This involves locating the site and obtaining permission from the property owner, executing the legal paperwork the Owner requires such as Hold Harmless Agreements. The ALSC, the City and the property owner are added as umbrella coverage on the contractor’s insurance certificate. In previous years the 4000 Angle Lake LLC and the Coluccio family had been gracious in allowing the use of their property to stage the show for which we are truly thankful for, however with eminent development of the 10 residential lots we were forced to find another location. With undeveloped property basically becoming extinct around the lake it is becoming even more difficult to secure a location. Two prominent parcels owned by our City located on the west shoreline (The Park and the old Hughes Property) immediately come to mind.  These seem like a logical choice but upon closer examination of both properties we find they either have security or access issues.  Rectifying these issues would add additional costs to our show which translates into either securing a larger donation from the City, more money from us the private contributors or resulting in a smaller show.  Fortunately for this year, Goldstone LLC and Evergreen MHP LLC, co-owners and operators of the Angle Lake Mobile Home Park have graciously offered us the use of their undeveloped parcel.  A huge note of appreciation to them for stepping forward in our time of need.

In preparation and staging for the show we need:
  1. Delivery of raft materials, shells, mortars, electronics and other miscellaneous materials to the assembly  site.
  2. Construction of a raft to act as a platform to launch not only the 6” and smaller fireworks mortars but also to support the crew of three to four technicians needed to perform the show.
  3. Temporary moorage of a steel barge used as the platform to fire the larger 8” and 10” mortars.  This barge is connected to the raft to form one large platform.  It is stored along my dock for the remaining year.  Have I told you how thrilled my wife is about that?  In its coat of navy grey paint with yellow stripes on the top it looks like a miniature version of a WWII aircraft carrier.  Every beach should have one!  
  4. Provide access to the location for the Fire Marshall to perform his inspections prior to the show.
  5. Tow the entire assembly to the performance location the evening of the show and, immediately following the performance, tow it back to the staging area in order to disassemble everything and demobilize from the site. 
And what about those wonderful flares set out on the lake at the very beginning of the show?  We need someone to not only buy the flares but also to deliver them to dock/beach side, someone to build the small wooden floats for the lake flares and small crew in boats to set the flares out on the lake prior to the start of the show.  We can thank our neighbor Russ Austin for stepping up to help with this each year.

Finally it’s hours before the show and we now have to tow the whole assembly out to the performance location. This requires two boats, a powerful inboard, that in years past has been provided and operated by Steve Lange, for towing and a smaller two man boat to assist in clearing the way and for anchoring.   We then head to the middle of the lake where we try and locate the point where the center line of both legs of the lake intersects. This represents the ideal viewing location. However the actual location is then determined based on the direction and strength of the wind to minimize fallout onto neighboring houses. Once we finesse the barge to this final location then we proceed to set three anchors to hold the barge in position.  With all that work done you all can sit back and enjoy the show.

Edited footage of the 2011 4th of July Fireworks Show set to patriotic music by Valerie Vavrik.

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The Board Members of the Angle Lake Shore Club wish to remind all neighbors and their guests that discharge of personal fireworks is prohibited with the SeaTac City Limits.  Here’s hoping for a sunny, safe and fun filled 4th of July.  

Fireworks Donation and Membership Dues Order Form