Incline Village Red White and Tahoe Blue fireworks set for Wednesday
July 2, 2018
At times it seemed like the night sky over Incline Village would remain dark on July 4. That will not be the case.
Red White and Tahoe Blue received word Wednesday that the U.S. Coast Guard had granted a permit to allow for the annual fireworks display on the lake. The Coast Guard's blessing was the final piece to the puzzle.
For Jeffrey and Kirstin Corman it was the last hurdle in a roughly two-month marathon staked with innumerable obstacles. The Cormans stepped into the process around the start of May after learning that the annual Red White and Tahoe Blue Fourth of July celebration — a multi-day series of events culminating in the July 4 fireworks — was in jeopardy of not happening at all.
Leadership with Red White and Tahoe Blue, the all-volunteer nonprofit behind the event, had dropped the ball, seemingly to the deepest depths of Lake Tahoe.
There was little to no communications with Washoe County, from which organizers needed a business license in order for the entirety of the event to move forward.
Deadlines were extended, deals were made and RWTB agreed to have all the necessary information to the county by June 1, with a decision being made by the assistant county manager by June 11.
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The permit was rejected due to incompleteness, which sparked a partial appeal filed with the county. Organizers were willing to sacrifice the parade and community fair on Village Green in order to salvage the fireworks and smaller events.
That appeal went before the Washoe County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Ultimately the board unanimously approved the appeal, providing RWTB obtained the necessary permit from the Coast Guard.
Before doing so, though, several commissioners issued a stern warning.
"I'm just going to tell you this is not going to happen next year," Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said in reference to the amount of work county staff put in to help make the event possible.
Commissioner Bob Lucey made similar remarks, adding that approving the license was just as much about safety, if not more, than having the event.
Red White and Tahoe Blue, particularly the fireworks, is an established event — people will come expecting a show regardless of whether or not it is advertised, said Lucey. The influx of thousands of visitors into a tiny community that typically has minimal law enforcement present could lead to "absolute mayhem."
"This is one of those legacy events. Whether you market it or not people are going to show up to Incline Village … this is a security problem for our residents that live in Incline Village."
Lucey also clearly stated that this year's process would not repeat itself again next year.
The Cormans have made that similar remark in past interviews, stating they intend to start working on the 2019 Red White and Tahoe Blue prior to the end of summer.
"Going forward it's going to be done right. Period. And we are going to make sure of that," Jeffrey told the Tribune after the commissioner meeting Tuesday.
Kirstin added they intend to build on the relationships formed over the past two months, particularly with the county and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. Hyatt GM Michael Murphy met with the Cormans and several others.
Afterward Murphy drafted a letter pledging to put up over $100,000 to cover the costs of paying vendors, should the money be needed.
"That was huge for the Hyatt to step up," Kirstin said.
The fireworks are tentatively slated to start at 9:30 p.m.