Chamber Sponsors New Year’s Eve Fireworks, 9 p.m.
Lake City/Hinsdale County Chamber of Commerce is hosting this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Rather than Water Tower Hill, this year’s eight to nine-minute pyrotechnics display starts at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and is tentatively scheduled to be based in Memorial Park, pending authorization from Town Trustees at a special meeting which was planned 2 p.m. Thursday, December 26. Lake City Chamber has contracted with a national fireworks display company, J & M Displays, which, with the aid of Joe Wonnacott, Jacqui Wonnacott, and Darren Hardy, together with chamber events coordinator Drew Nelson and executive director Katrina Menzies, are coordinating the New Year’s display. As a result of public safety concerns, the New Year’s fireworks is planned to be held at Memorial Park to the south of Henson Creek. The open park location would allow a 210’-radius which is designated as a safety zone for the fireworks. Regulations require that no one other than the operators and crew — in this case J & M Displays’ personnel, Wonnacott and Hardy — is located within the 210’ open radius. Also precluded from within the open area is any inhabited building or vehicle, combustible items, etc. The fireworks will reach a maximum height of about 200’. Rather than larger fireworks shells requiring an even wider open radius, this year’s display will use a variety of 3”-diameter shells which, unlike prior years, will be pre-wired and electronically detonated. According to J & M Display’s Claire Skalinski, the typical format for a fireworks display is fast-paced at the opening, followed by a “steady and exciting” format, and then the traditional grand finale. Lake City fireworks displays in past years have been individually ignited with a hand-held flare. With new safety regulations, the old hand flare is now replaced by individual fireworks canisters which are pre-wired electronically to a central firing unit, a method which Skalinski terms “much safer than hand-firing.” Firing electronically, she adds, results in the firing crew being at a safer distance away from the display exercising increased control of the pace and firing of the display. Discussion on the location for future fireworks displays is ongoing, with a decision on a definitive location for next Tuesday’s New Year’s fireworks display at Memorial Park to be made by town trustees Thursday afternoon this week .