INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; Months of preparation and planning are about to pay off, as Red, White and Tahoe Blue is set to kick off its sixth year of festivities next week, from June 30 to July 7.
There are several new events this year for the week-long celebration, including the outdoor Tainted Love concert at the Village Green, along with the old favorites such as the parade and rubbery duck race, to name a few.
and#8220;Every year, we want to make every event a little bit better, and also add one or two new events a year,and#8221; said Jim Smith, chairman of RWTB.
The event has also increased the number of nonprofit organizations participating from three in 2007 to 45 last year, with around 50 expected this year. And, under the direction of Smith, RWTB has decreased its budget, from almost $200,000 a few years ago to about $83,000.
Perhaps this biggest highlight this year is the addition of a brand new barge for fireworks on Lake Tahoe, purchased by RWTB. In years past, RWTB has rented a locally made barge at a cost to use as a platform for the July 4 fireworks show.
When Smith stepped in as president in 2009, he said he began exploring other, less expensive options. He found Poseidon Barge Corporation, a company based out of Indiana, that was willing to help.
and#8220;Since day one, we've had a good working relationship,and#8221; said Tom Pinkerton, the west coast sales manager for Poseidon Barge Corp.
The company donated a barge to RWTB for the 2010 festivities. This was a great opportunity for both parties, as it allowed RWTB to cut costs, Smith said, while allowing Poseidon to give back to a community.
RWTB has worked with Poseidon since, and recently purchased its own barge to use for the fireworks show this year and for years to come. The barge can become a community asset, Smith said, by bringing in profits for the town by being available for rent or other uses.
and#8220;We're real excited about (the barge),and#8221; Smith added.
Pinkerton, who resides in Southern California, now makes the trip to Incline Village for Fourth of July activities each year, and said he looks forward to seeing the new barge in action.
Fireworks this year for the Wednesday, July 4, show will be provided by Lantis Fireworks and Lasers, based out of Utah. Owner Ken Lantis and his crew have been supplying and designing the impressive show for five out of the past six years.
Before the big show, however, Lantis is planning a smaller and unique show for the barge christening party, slated from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30.
and#8220;We're bringing something called the tau,and#8221; Lantis explained. and#8220;We're going to bless the barge with firecrackers.and#8221;
Lantis stressed that while the christening show will be small, it is certainly not one to miss.
and#8220;I have some unusual stuff that we're going to shoot. I would come see it,and#8221; Lantis said.
Red, White and Tahoe Blue has become a working vacation for Lantis and his employees, who now enjoy the festivities, as well as take part in them. Smith was able to reduce the cost of the fireworks show by about 50 percent by raising funds and putting the pyrotechnic crew up in hotels and helping pay for transportation from Utah, he said, as well as providing volunteers to help set up the show.
and#8220;(Ken) has grown the show every year,and#8221; Smith said of the fireworks display. and#8220;We want our show to get better every year. Every year we add more shells and try to do something a little different.and#8221;
Lake Tahoe has become one of Lantis' favorite places to shoot fireworks. He's traveled around the world putting on shows, including Spain, Alaska and all over the United States. While he doesn't always travel to shows, RWTB is one event he looks forward to every year.
and#8220;I enjoy being here. The people are friendly, and you can do so many things with the water and a barge to shoot off of,and#8221; Lantis said. and#8220;Tahoe is probably the most beautiful place in the world.and#8221;
Lantis added that Tahoe is one of his favorite places to put on shows because of the clear sky and altitude, both which combine to make the fireworks crisper and brighter.
Aside from RWTB now owning a barge, another significant addition this year is an outdoor concert. On Thursday, July 5, from 7-9:30 p.m., Tainted Love, a popular 80s cover band, will take over the Village Green and rock Incline Village.
and#8220;We're all excited about it,and#8221; Smith said. and#8220;We are so excited to have an outdoor concert here in this community.and#8221;
The show is a general admission, all-ages show, which is unique considering the San Francisco-based band usually plays in clubs and frequents the Crystal Bay Club Crown Room.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the door, but Smith encourages people to buy ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased on the RWTB website, as well as at CBC and at crystalbaycasino.com.
The parade, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Saturday, July 7, will see some changes this year as well. There will be $500 in prize money awarded to the best nonprofit float and best float overall. Also not to be missed is the appearance of former Olympic swimmer, Debbie Meyer. Her appearance goes hand in hand with the parade's theme, and#8220;Go Team USA.and#8221; Children are invited to decorate their bikes and partake in kids bike parade, which travels the same route as the larger parade. Kids can sign up on the day of the event for the bike parade.
Smith, the RWTB board and the hundreds of volunteers are all busy putting the finishing touches on the events and gearing up for a fun-filled week.
While they are sure to be busy during the week, the community aspect and why they put on the event is never far from their mind, said Incline resident Diane Morrison, who has spearheaded the parade the past three years.
and#8220;It's a really great event where the community comes together and everybody supports everybody else,and#8221; Morrison said. and#8220;Tourists can come in and become a part of the community as well. The Fourth used to just happen. After the first year (of RWTB), we couldn't believe how much it brought to the community. =
and#8220;It's a great way to bring all groups together.and#8221;
More than 50 nonprofits are expected to participate this year as well, as RWTB stays focused on giving back to the community.
and#8220;We've given back about $150,000 to the nonprofits over the past six years,and#8221; Smith added.
With more than 30 events taking place over several days, RWTB aims to be bigger and better this year.
Smith and the board hope to grow the event with live music, bigger fireworks and even more community involvement.
and#8220;It's neat the pride that people have,and#8221; Smith said. and#8220;I feel really lucky to be a part of this because it's so much fun.and#8221;