There will be fireworks in Long Beach this Independence Day, but for the first time the city will not be directly involved.
Long Beach’s Firefighters Association has pulled the plug on its longtime show at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the Long Beach City College campus. Fire Captain Rich Brandt said that the show was losing too much money.
Downtown, the Sea Festival Association has coordinated fireworks with the Queen Mary for the last several years — since the city stopped directly financing the show in 2005. There was no show that year.
The Port of Long Beach stepped up to help the Sea Festival pay for fireworks, particularly last year in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
But the Sea Festival Association, a nonprofit, ceased operations last year, and the city is not participating, according to David Ashman, manager of the city’s Special Events and Filming Bureau. Tuesday, Steve Sheldon of the Queen Mary said the ship will be applying to put on a fireworks show on its own.
“We will definitely be having fireworks,” said Sheldon, who is director of entertainment events at the ship. “We’ll have a full day of family-friendly activities on the ship, then at 9 p.m. there will be a fireworks show.
“It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks off the Queen Mary, would it?”
The firefighters also will be participating in an Independence Day fundraiser, although it will be on Independence Day Eve. Plans call for a barbecue at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club on Tuesday, July 3, to benefit the Long Beach Firefighters Memorial Association, the group that was directly responsible for the Veterans Stadium show.
That barbecue is part of a range of events, including fireworks, being planned by John Morris of McKenna’s on the Bay. Morris had attempted to have fireworks at Alamitos Bay last Fourth of July, but started too late.
“This is going to be along the same lines as the 9-11 event (last Sept. 11),” Morris said. “We’ll do it the night before the Fourth of July. That’s better for business, and better for the neighbors (most of whom won’t have to get up to go to work the next morning). The feedback we had for that event was incredible, and we think we’ve put together a nice plan. There was no issue then, and I don’t think it will be an issue now.”
Morris said paperwork is being processed by Pyro Spectacular, with the permit application turned in to the Fire Department on Monday. He said he had just begun seeking sponsorships to raise the $50,000 for the show.
“So far, we’ve got McKenna’s Bancap (the master lease holder for Alamitos Bay Landing), the yacht clubs, some other businesses,” Morris said. “We’re just getting started.”
Brandt, in his capacity as fire safety officer, said that his department would review the application in terms of safety and logistics before rendering a decision.
Ashman said that Virginia Country Club has put on a private fireworks show for the last several years, and that likely would take place again this year. He said city officials had talked to the Downtown Long Beach Associates and downtown business owners to let them know the city would not be sponsoring fireworks, but that the city also had not solicited participation by businesses to put on a show.