Groups are finalizing plans for July 4 fireworks


POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

While Kailua businessfolk scramble to try and put together a fireworks show this July 4th, in three weeks, several other businesses and organizations are finalizing plans.

A definitive list of Oahu fireworks displays is not available just yet, as all the permitting processes are not completed among all the various agencies involved.

The Honolulu Fire Department screening all applicants except those on military bases, which are self-governed.

For private use, residents can get permits for firecrackers “;any time of year,”; said Capt. Terry Seelig, HFD public information officer. They needn't wait until consumer fireworks go on sale, which is when long lines form at satellite city halls.

For displays involving public parks, there is the City and County Department of Planning and Permitting.

For displays over water, the issuing agency is the Coast Guard's Marine Permitting Division, said Lt. John Titchen, public affairs officer.

It issues permits for fishing tournaments, surf contests, open-ocean swims, paddle-boarding events and other water-related events.

Federal regulations call for permitting 60 days before an event, but state regulations are looser, at 30 days out. However, “;we do our best to accommodate and work with the community as best we can,”; Titchen said.

His records show that Aloha Tower Marketplace plans a July 3 display at Honolulu Harbor, while four permits have been issued for water-borne fireworks July 4: in Waikiki, by Hilton Hawaiian Village; at Maunalua Bay Beach Park; at Kailua-Kona on the Big Island and Lahaina, Maui.

Coast Guard officials have been contacted by organizers in Kailua, though no permit has been issued yet.

The Hawaii Kai show is being organized by the nonprofit Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Foundation.

“;It was hard to fundraise this year”; because of the economy, said Charles Long, co-founder.

Last year's show exceeded spectators' expectations, so “;we are hoping to double that this year,”; with a 22-minute show at 8 p.m. that will be part of a 2 to 9 p.m. event. Attendance will be free, though the event will cost $60,000 to stage.

Ala Moana Center will stage its 18th annual fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. as part of a full weekend of events and entertainment.

Center officials expect a large turnout since the holiday is on a Saturday and know more may come if there are no fireworks on the windward side.

“;We're working with the city and county agencies, gearing up to do what we need to do,”; said Sharon James, regional vice president of marketing.

“;Thirty percent of the fireworks this year are new products that have never been seen before,”; she said, citing information from Pyro Spectaculars.

They will only be seen in three locations—the Macy's display in New York City, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and at Ala Moana.

The public is invited to Schofield Barracks' annual free display at 8:30 p.m., part of its Centennial Celebration, a full day of family activities and a concert by classic rock group Kansas.

“;We will have free bus tours throughout the day to the historical districts,”; said Kathy Giannetti, chief of Recreation Delivery Services.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).