Fireworks set for July 4, but St. Helens wants your help in future
St. Helens will host a Fourth of July show this year on the St. Helens riverfront, but city officials are hoping a community organization can take over future fireworks events.
This year's fireworks will be launched from Sand Island over the Columbia River.
The Fourth of July event this year will be made possible by a donation from Comcast. Paradise Moorage is providing fireworks transportation to Sand Island.
"The island is a traditional site to host the show from and one of the most unique fireworks locations in the region," St. Helens officials said in announcing this year's Independence Day celebration.
In the coming weeks, the city will be monitoring COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Oregon Health Authority to determine what additional events are possible to incorporate as part of the Fourth of July festivities.
Pre-pandemic, St. Helens would often organize July 4 events, such as a concert at the Columbia View Park amphitheater. Visitors would also enjoy vendor booths along Strand Street.
The city typically partners with community organizations and veteran groups to conduct a traditional bell-ringing ceremony, flag-raising and a recital of the national anthem.
July 4 has always been a community event in St. Helens, says Mayor Rick Scholl.
"We barbecue throughout the day with our friends and family, and then later that evening, we go down and watch the fireworks show," Scholl said.
Scholl is confident about the fireworks show going forward.
"Absolutely, we are setting somebody up for success as far as whoever wants to take it over," he said, noting interested people or organizations can get in touch with the mayor or City Administrator John Walsh.
There will be a variety of locations this year to view the fireworks.
"What's unique about our shoot is that we do it from Sand Island," Scholl said. "It actually spreads the view from Nob Hill Nature Park all the way to Columbia City. All the way to Columbia City, you can see where we're shooting fireworks off the island."
The city hasn't always hosted the event itself. The St. Helens Community Foundation financed the fireworks show through 2015. In 2016, St. Helens' contracted event coordinator, Tina Curry, led a fundraising campaign to pay for the July 4 fireworks after the City Council decided not to put money toward it.
The city assumed the responsibility of paying for the fireworks show from 2017 onward.
The annual fireworks show costs an average of $15,000 to $18,000, according to St. Helens officials.
This year, a shell is being specially designed by Western Fireworks to honor the legacy of Ed Lokken. Lokken, the city said, was instrumental in organizing the St. Helens fireworks show for over three decades.
After the fireworks finale, there will be a pause of several seconds before the memorial firework is lit in honor of Lokken, who was recognized by St. Helens in 2016 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of dedication.
The city says it is "committed to hosting a display to celebrate Independence Day and bring the community together."
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