CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sherry Souza of Pyro Spectaculars held fireworks yesterday that will be launched tomorrow from Magic Island. The big one is a "Chrysanthemum," which goes up 1,200 feet and explodes almost 2,400 feet across. The small one is a "Peony." CLICK FOR LARGE
Police increasing security at Ala Moana for holiday
Residents planning to spend their Fourth of July at Ala Moana Beach Park should leave their fireworks and alcohol at home tomorrow or risk facing about 60 police officers tightening enforcement.
The officers will be in plain clothes, uniforms and on all-terrain vehicles and bikes looking for violators in the anticipated crowd of 25,000 to 40,000, said Sgt. William Axt. He reminds violators that they can be fined heavily or face jail time.
"We're asking people to leave the fireworks up to the professionals," Axt said. "Every year, we experience some violations. We just want people to come out here, be safe and enjoy Ala Moana on the holiday."
Novelty fireworks, including sparklers and jumping jacks, are not allowed in the park. While consuming alcohol in public is illegal all the time, there is a larger likelihood violators will be spotted with more police officers patrolling the park.
The heightened police presence was prompted by drunken fights, burn victims and injured officers on the Fourth of July in years past.
"We can't see everyone, but the ones we do see, we will take action," Axt said.
Campers can stake out their spot starting today. However, all vehicles must be out of the parking lot by 10 p.m., or they will be towed. The parking lots will reopen at 4 a.m. tomorrow, though Axt warns motorists to pay close attention to the parking signs because vehicles illegally parked will be towed.
"We want to give everyone a fair chance to come to Ala Moana," Axt said. "It is on a first come, first serve. Parking is always a problem. Chances are if you come here at 11 a.m. and find parking, you're parked illegally."
Ala Moana Center's popular annual fireworks show begins at 8:30 p.m. and will last for 18 minutes, said the show's producer, Pyro Spectaculars by Souza. During that time, police will shut down all lanes of Ala Moana Boulevard from Kamakee Street to Atkinson Drive to prevent rubbernecking.
Vehicles will be rerouted, and lanes will reopen when most of the pedestrian traffic ends after the show.