Incline Village Fourth of July fireworks approved by Washoe County commissioners |

Incline Village Fourth of July fireworks approved by Washoe County commissioners

Fireworks light up the South Shore skyline from El Dorado Beach during the 34th annual Lights on the Lake show Saturday night. Fireworks by Grucci, Tahoe Douglas Visitor's Authority executed the show for 2015.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Washoe County commissioners unanimously approved a special event permit for the Incline Village July 4 fireworks following a brief discussion Tuesday that symbolized the stark contrast to last year’s process.

The permit was one of the few remaining hurdles, although as Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau President and CEO Andy Chapman noted, approval of the permit was largely expected.

The Visitors Bureau and a coalition consisting of the Incline Community Business Association, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation and Incline Village General Improvement District, started working with Washoe County staff early in the process.

The coalition took over the responsibility of organizing the July 4 fireworks from Red White and Tahoe Blue after organizational issues with the volunteer-run organization almost led to the event being canceled.

Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler made it clear in 2018 that the county would not go through a similar process with the event organizers this year.

This year, they didn’t have to.

“This was a piece of cake,” Washoe County Planner Julie Oleander told the commissioners Tuesday.

In addition to having the coalition take over the fireworks, other events associated with the July 4 fireworks, such as the Beers and Brats event and various pancake breakfasts, were separated from the fireworks and handled by various organizations in the community. Since those other events are far smaller than the fireworks — which could draw 10,000 spectators, according to event documents — they each go through a simpler permitting process.

Those changes all helped simplify the process for permitting the fireworks.

“We felt confident that we were in a good spot and I think we are,” Chapman told the Tribune after the permit was approved.

That approval came with a series of conditions, many of which have already been fullfilled. One of the most significant remaining conditions is an agreement with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, which is contingent upon approval from the U.S. Coast Guard. Chapman expects the Coast Guard to sign off on the event in the coming weeks — if not days.

The other remaining hurdles involve purchasing the barges, which Chapman expects to be completed in the near future, and raising the remaining $40,000 needed to cover the cost of the fireworks.

“(We) don’t have any concerns about that,” Chapman said of the remaining money that needs to be raised.

Community members can visit for updates on the event.

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