Ala Moana Center's fireworks are a $3.75M spectacle
TO ENHANCE the sparkle of its 15th annual Independence Day fireworks show, Ala Moana Center will give away free 3-D glasses for people to watch the 18-minute display. The show will be synchronized to music simulcast on KCCN-FM 100.3 and KINE-FM 105.1, both owned by Atlanta-based Cox Radio Inc.
"I was at a meeting at Cox (with the staff) and we tried them on," said Jasmine Tso, marketing and promotions director at Ala Moana. Somebody snapped a picture, using a flash, so the wearers could get an idea of the effect the glasses would provide "and everybody remarked, 'Wow, these are so cool!'" Tso chuckled.
The 5,000 pairs of glasses will be available from the Ala Moana customer-service center from July 1 through July 4, while supplies last.
He or she who hesitates will most surely miss out on specs for the spectacle, with an estimated 10,000 people watching from the center and another 50,000 watching from Ala Moana Park, not to mention untold numbers viewing from surrounding lanais with a view.
The center has spent $3.75 million on the fireworks show over the years, which averages $250,000 a year, though the annual expense has likely increased over time.
That's a hefty chunk of change for something that goes up in smoke.
"We understand we are a big part of the community," Tso said. "We're a huge hub in Honolulu and for the state and really, truly, it is our ... gift to the city of Honolulu."
"It is one of the largest (fireworks displays) in the nation," based on the types and amount of shells purchased and the time it takes to deploy them, Tso said.
The money pays for the fireworks, the equipment and crew, of course, but there's a lot more involved.
The center pays for entertainment leading up to the pyrotechnics, barricades, additional security employees, special-duty police offers, trash bags that are handed out to parkgoers and a clean-up crew that combs the park for remaining opala the next day.
The physical work to set everything up for the Tuesday night show has already begun.
"We start five days before," Tso said. "At the park, we have to start cordoning off the area" where the fireworks-launching equipment will be installed.
At the center, there must be construction of a "huge stage and a tower" for the concert "and we have to connect an actual landline from the center to the fireworks people so the music can be simulcast," she said. "The fireworks and the music are all chosen by Ala Moana Center, so the best viewing spot is on our parking deck," where the music is also perfectly synched, she said.
Center Stage will host entertainment from noon to 5 p.m., when the action will move outside. Entertainment will resume at the makai parking deck stage at 6 until the 8:30 p.m. fireworks show launches.
Viewers can start staking out vantage points from 4 p.m., when the center will allow entry to the makai parking deck.
While many restaurants normally stay open, the center will operate on Sunday hours, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday to give merchants and their employees an opportunity to watch the show, Tso said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org