Incline Village fireworks coalition ready to go before Washoe County commissioners |

Incline Village fireworks coalition ready to go before 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

There will be fireworks on the Fourth of July in Incline Village.

That’s the message a coalition of community groups and businesses, which collectively have taken over the responsibility of organizing the annual display, are sending to the community.

“(We) want to make sure people know we are doing fireworks,” said Andy Chapman, president and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau.

Along with the Incline Community Business Association, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation and Incline Village General Improvement District, the visitors bureau is leading the effort to continue the July 4 fireworks show.

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Thanks to their collective efforts, it appears they have succeeded this year.

Aside from finalizing the purchase of the barges used to launch the fireworks, a process that Chapman said will ensure the barges stay in the community for this specific purpose, organizers primarily have two boxes left to check.

One of those boxes comes down to money. So far the coalition has raised around $70,000 of the approximately $120,000 needed for the fireworks.

While raising roughly $40,000 sounds like a heavy lift, Chapman said he is confident the group, which hasn’t seriously started its fundraising campaign yet, can raise the money.

“We will be looking to our community up here for those interested in participating and providing some of the funds to get us to the top, and we have every intent that we’ll get there.”

The first is approval from Washoe County. The necessary permit is tentatively slated to go before county commissioners May 28.

From the county’s perspective, the biggest issue is public safety, explained Sarah Tone, business facilitator Washoe County. The coalition organizing the fireworks approached the county early on and provided a plan meeting all the public safety needs, Tone said.

“And they worked very closely with our partners — fire, sheriff, and myself and out planning team — and have been absolutely excellent to work with.”

Washoe staff is recommending commissioners approve the special event permit for the fireworks.

The process is a departure from the recent years when the event became in peril due to disorganization with the nonprofit Red White and Tahoe Blue, a volunteer-run organization that oversaw the fireworks and other smaller events centered around July 4.

The 2018 fireworks show only happened thanks to last-minute efforts by community members, IVGID and Washoe County staff and others.

During the tumultuous permitting process, Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler bluntly stated that organizers would drastically need to change their approach in order for the fireworks to continue after 2018.

That change has happened.

In addition to the new coalition taking over the reigns from Red White and Tahoe Blue, the other events have been spun off into individual events. Since they draw smaller crowds the permitting process is less onerous.

Specifically the Washoe County Board of Adjustment will consider at its June meeting applications for the July 4 veterans pancake breakfast, the Beers and Brats event and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District July 5 pancake breakfast. All three events received approval from the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Citizen Advisory Board earlier this month.

While expressing a desire not to dwell on the past, Chapman noted the coalition has several advantages over the previous organizers, such as the availability of paid staff members who can work on the application process. Having more partners involved also helps, as does narrowing the scope of the event, Chapman said.

“It has been very smooth process.”

Tone echoed that point and thanked the coalition members who have worked on the application process.

“(We) just appreciate the team going through the process with us.”

The official agenda for the May 28 meeting will be set the Wednesday before the meeting. Once finalized, it can be viewed online at Commissioner meetings take place at 1001 E. Ninth St., Building A in Reno. The also can be viewed online at the previous web URL.

More information on the fireworks and donating can be found at

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