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POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

BIG BANG

Some public fireworks fizzle, but Honolulu still rages

Go ahead, go out and celebrate America's independence with a fireworks show — while you still can.

The tough economy has caused many strapped cities to cancel or curtail their public fireworks displays. Shows in San Jose, Charlottesvilles, Va., Mesa, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo., are just a few of the casualties.

Kailua's own pyrotechnics also was iffy until a grassroots effort prompted event-saving donations. Lucky Hawaii folks and visitors also will have many other shows to choose from, including one today off Aloha Tower Marketplace at 9 p.m.; and tomorrow night, ones at Hickam, Pearl Harbor and Schofield military bases.

And if you still need a reason: The fireworks show off Ala Moana Beach, at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, has been named among the nation's 10 best by Travel + Leisure magazine. “;So grand is this pyro party on the southern shore of Oahu that some 50,000 people watch it each year,”; raves the mag.

Ka-Boom! Happy birthday, America.

EMERGENCIES ONLY

Don't get your pyro fix with flares

Nothing beats celebrating the Fourth of July on the water, relaxing on a boat as fireworks sparkle overhead. But the Coast Guard has an annual reminder for those mariners who tend to get too caught up in the celebration: Emergency flares are not fireworks. The distress signals must be fired only to report an actual maritime emergency. Anything less could result in jail time and a heavy fine as the Coast Guard cracks down on false alarms, which tie up crews and resources needed for legitimate calls in the crowded waterways over the holiday weekend.