Hart Beat

Sometimes fireworks plans go awry

Sometimes all you can do is say "sorry" when things go wrong.

Such is the case surrounding this year's Sunnyside Lions Club Fourth of July fireworks display. The Lions had contracted for a pyrotechnic display designed to last 40 minutes, but due to circumstances beyond the Lions members' control, the show came up 20 minutes short.

I know it was 20 minutes short because I and Sunnyside High School custodian Dan Aguilar planned enough music to last 62 minutes. I know it was a short light show because I only got to hear Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." one time. Normally we get to hear it twice.

The worst part, or best part, depending on where you were sitting Monday night was that the usual explosive finale for the evening came at the beginning of the show in a huge burst of light that lit up the entire Clem Senn Football Stadium. The light show was great, no getting around that.

I've been told it could be seen for miles around Sunnyside and certainly from the cars parked up and down Lincoln and East Edison Avenues, South 16th Street and parts of Yakima Valley Highway, not including all of the Sunnyside citizens' back yards across town.

Still, it wasn't 40 minutes long and that is what everyone was expecting to see.

Unfortunately, that initial burst of light, which seemed like 100 rockets going off at once, shortened the rest of our Fourth of July program.

The Eagles fireworks crew, who were contacted to handle the actual rockets, admittedly got excited and lit up the American flag too soon. Their leader told me she thought the show had lasted longer, noting she hadn't wanted to leave any dead spots in the night's sky.

Well, it's true while she and her team were firing off the rockets, there weren't a lot of sky showing. I just wish it would have lasted as long as we had agreed it would.

The show still managed to draw hoots and hollers from the several hundred people who filled the football field prior to the show. That was very gratifying, not just for me, but for all of the people who helped make this year's show a family event for the entire community.

I think that this year's Fourth of July fireworks display was spectacular, and I've helped on each one we've held for the past 10 years.

I love it. It really makes the Fourth of July for me and I'm so proud to live in a community that continues to support the Fourth of July celebration.

As a long-time Lions Club member, I am so proud of our newest member, Carol Stone, who has taken on the fireworks cause as her mission.

She gave me near hourly reports on her fund-raising efforts and I have to say that even though Stone wanted Toby Keith to perform in concert at this year's event, even she was excited by the turnout and the show.

She wanted an instant replay of Monday night's display as soon as it was done. "Do it again," she yelled.

I, too, wished we could have had an instant replay, then we could have had our promised 40 minutes.

Still Stone was full of compliments. "Man, it is a lot better when you see it from inside the football field, " she said.

Stone, who this year helped the Sunnyside Lions Club generate enough money for an $8,000 show, has always sat in her vehicle outside the stadium. I think we cured her of that tradition. She has promised to watch all future shows from inside the stadium.

There were plenty of other bright spots to this year's Fourth of July celebration, including the participation of the Sunnyside High School Grizzliettes. The team, under the direction of Melody Lopez, painted faces, danced and provided their own spark to the evening's activities.

Also helping to entertain the crowds prior to the fireworks show were members of the Sunnyside Ward of the LDS Church, who, under the leadership of Bruce Ricks, provided nearly 200 glow sticks, which entertained young and old as they waited for the fireworks to begin.

Even though only about 100 people turned out earlier in the evening for the patriotic program organized by Sunnyview VFW Post #3482, that event was also pretty special.

So, even if the light show was a mere 20 minutes, if you were there for the whole evening, you got one hell of a show and that is a promise we did make good on.


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