Inaugural drone show at Tahoe awes Incline Village, Crystal Bay communities

Submitted to the Tribune
About 5,000 people showed up to watch the inaugural drone show in Incline Village.
Provided/Matt Morning

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Over 5,000 spectators enjoyed Lake Tahoe’s inaugural SkyShow this Independence Day as 200 drones illuminated the night sky with picturesque scenes from the Sierra and patriotic lightscapes in red, white and blue.

Organizers of the event envisioned a new and innovative approach to Fourth of July festivities, one that replaced traditional pyrotechnic fireworks displays and prioritized community safety, inclusivity, and the reduction of environmental risks posed by drought and warm temperatures. 

Working closely with drone experts at Verge Aero, weather forecasters, and North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, it was clear that despite initial concerns about weather, the show would not be canceled. 

About 200 hundred drones were used for the show.
Provided/Matt Morning

“Safety has always been our first priority, which is why we selected one of the top drone companies in the country to facilitate our show,” said Andy Chapman, President and CEO of Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. “Their team of experts – from pilot to crew – and superior technology ensured the show would go forward and we are proud to have worked collaboratively with local businesses and community stakeholders to bring this event to Incline Village and Crystal Bay.”

The Incline Village Crystal Bay July Fourth SkyShow was a joint effort between Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau, the Incline Village General Improvement District, the Incline Village Crystal Bay Community & Business Association, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe and the Parasol Foundation. To date, the community has raised $110,000 to cover the cost of the show, including the cost of drone and entertainment vendors, fire and sheriff contracts, and permit fees. Donations are still being accepted and more information on how to contribute can be found at The SkyShow was part of a larger Fourth of July celebration that included a traditional parade, beer garden and food trucks, concluding with two drone ‘SkyShow’ performances and a laser light show. No medical or security incidents were reported. 

“We will continue to develop year-round programs that align with stewardship principles and lead the region with thoughtful and sustainable practices,” continued Chapman. “Our collective view is that we prioritize and permanently adopt destination experiences that support a vibrant economy and our most vital asset, the land.”

An estimated 19,500 fires were started by fireworks in 2018, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Nearly 30% of the fires caused by fireworks are ignited on the Fourth of July, based on 2014 to 2018 annual averages.

“The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is here to protect and assist our community. With that, we support pivoting to a safer celebration program for the Fourth of July holiday with the Incline Village Crystal Bay SkyShow,” said Ryan Sommers, fire chief of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. “As we all experienced and witnessed the effects of the Caldor Fire, we know there is no such thing as fire season, it is year-round; we need to be vigilant with our fire prevention measures not just during the summer months, but all year long.”

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