Fireworks are back: Lights on the Lake resumes in South Tahoe; North Shore hosts drone shows |

Fireworks are back: Lights on the Lake resumes in South Tahoe; North Shore hosts drone shows

Fireworks light up the South Shore skyline from El Dorado Beach during a previous Lights on the Lake show.
Tahoe Daily Tribune file

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With the Fourth of July fast approaching at Lake Tahoe, North and South Shore communities are preparing to celebrate in full swing after two years of COVID precautions. 

The city of South Lake Tahoe plans to kick off the celebrations at 10 a.m. Monday, July 4 with a parade that will begin on Ski Run Boulevard and travel along U.S. Highway 50 to Al Tahoe Boulevard, finishing at Bijou Community Park. 

“After a two-year hiatus, we are excited to bring back the Fourth of July Parade,” said Mayor Devin Middlebrook. “Our residents truly embrace this event, and it gives us the opportunity to showcase our community. In addition to celebrating the Fourth of July, we will be honoring our Local Heroes from the Caldor Fire. We invite residents as well as visitors to take part in this fun and exciting celebration.” 

The parade will begin with an honorary military flyover, right above Lakeview Commons, courtesy of the Nevada National Guard 152nd Airlift Wing, the “High Rollers.” 

The parade will be live-streamed on the city’s YouTube channel and Facebook page

The parade is sponsored by Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe, the Lake Tahoe Golf Course and Welcome’s Auto Body and Towing. 

The Lights on the Lake firework show will be put on by the American Pyrotechnics Association, and will begin at 9:45 p.m. The show will be visible along the entire South Shore. Some of the best places to watch the show include Nevada Beach, Timber Cove and Marina and El Dorado Beach. 

Officials recommend considering the use of alternate transportation like biking, walking, or public transportation in order to mitigate traffic accidents. Additionally, to help slow down motorists and increase travel safety, California Highway Patrol will be deploying extra patrol officers over the holiday weekend as a part of a Maximum Enforcement Period. Beginning at 6:01 p.m. Friday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 4, CHP will observe the MEP with a special focus on speed enforcement. In addition to speeding violations, officers will be on the lookout for distracted and aggressive drivers, and motorists suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Fireworks over Lake Tahoe are seen from middle-Gunbarrel of Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Tribune file

“Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Speeding not only endangers your life, but the lives of everyone on the roadway,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Fill the holiday weekend with celebration and fun activities, not reckless choices that lead to tragedy.” 

The city of South Lake Tahoe is the only community in the basin to be doing traditional fireworks, which will attract more spectators who are craving the years long tradition in the basin. 

Officials are urging those that come to watch the show and celebrate to not only pack in what they pack out, but try to participate in the Keep Tahoe Red, White, and Blue Beach Clean-Up from 8-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, at beaches all around the lake.

North Shore beaches will also be participating in the clean up to get the rest of the trash left by spectators, but the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau Board Operations and Finance Director Greg Long explained this year, due to the use of the drone shows, it will eliminate a large amount of the environmental impact on the lake. 

“We’ve always known that fireworks are not the best for the lake because of all the pollution it provides,” said Long. “We’ve done our parts by hiring divers and things to go underneath to the barges that shoot them off to pick up all of the waste, but you’re never going to get all of that waste out of the lake. So we’ve always had [the drone option] in the back of our minds, but there has been so much pushback from the local communities of everyone wanting fireworks.” 

Long and other North Shore officials saw the results of the Caldor Fire and decided it was time to make the switch. For Incline Village, this inaugural event marks the beginning of a learning experience for the IVCBVB. 

“We’re going to see how it goes and how it is received in the community,” said Long. “We’re looking for feedback on how it goes and how people liked it, because we want to put on something that people are going to enjoy.” 

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m., with food trucks, a beer garden, and a DJ along with intermittent laser shows before the first drone show begins at 9:30 p.m., with a second following at 10:15 p.m. at the Incline Village Baseball Fields. Shuttles will be set up to run at The Chateau, Big Water DP lot, and the Diamond Peak upper and lower lots. Parking will also be available at the middle school, the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation building, the IVGID Recreation Center, and the Visitors Center on State Route 28. 

Incline Village residents will also be celebrating local heroes at the hometown parade beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 2, hosted by the Incline Village Crystal Bay Community and Business Association and the Rotary Club of Tahoe-Incline. The parade will start on Village Boulevard and end at the Village Green, where the Local Heroes Community Fair and Washoe County Sheriff Office Meet and Greet. 

There will be an afternoon of carnival games, informational booths, and freebies from various nonprofits, businesses, and service clubs. Additionally, Sheriff Balaam and other members of the WCSO will be in attendance. 

WCSO Sgt. Joseph Colacurcio said that their office is doing everything in their power to make sure the weekend of activities goes well. 

“We at the Sheriff’s Office understand the influx of visitors coming to the area,” said Colacurcio. “We normally plan for an upstaffing … to help alleviate or assist in any necessary mitigation of traffic issues, increased calls for service, or anything along those lines.” 

Even though the location to view fireworks has changed this year, the same safety and traffic plans are in place, and the WCSO is also working with their partnering agencies including Nevada Highway Patrol, Carson City Sheriff Offices, and Douglas County. 

People are encouraged to use public transportation if possible, and to stay off the roads if you’ve consumed any alcohol. 

“If you partake, find another means in any which way,” said Colacurcio. “The only way to drive is sober driving.” 

With an increased amount of foot traffic and heavier traffic congestion, Colacurcio is stressing safety among all else. 

“Slow down, take your time, and just be aware of the foot traffic,” Colacurcio said. “That’s the highest risk for us with people trying to get to and from the beach. Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and driving sober is the only way.”

For a list of the rest of the weekend events that will be happening on North and South Shore, visit

For information or to pre-register for the Keep Tahoe Red, White, and Blue Beach Clean Up, visit

Local heroes schedule of events

Saturday, July 2 

8-10 a.m., NLTFPD Flag Raising and Pancake Breakfast 

10 a.m., Bike Parade and Local Heroes Parade

11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Local Heroes Community Fair and WCSO Meet and Greet 

Sunday, July 3 

11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Pave Hawk Helicopter Landing 

12 p.m., Veterans Recognition Lunch

Dusk, Flag Retirement Ceremony 

Monday, July 4 

8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Veterans Club Pancake Breakfast 

1:30 p.m., USAF Para rescue Military Exercise and Veterans Tribute VIP Luncheon 

7:30-10:30 p.m., Fourth of July Sky Show

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