Paying for pyrotechnic displays in Windward Oahu

Published On: Feb 25 2013 10:54:00 PM HST

The effort begins to get Kailua residents to pay, so holiday fireworks will go up.

Free fireworks have been an annual Kailua tradition on Independence Day, but now some in Windward Oahu hope to start a new tradition: having residents pay for the spectacular pyrotechnics shows.

Many Windward Oahu residents get ready for the Kailua fireworks long before the July 4th holiday.

"I look forward to it a lot. My cousin and I go down to the beach, hang out and spend the whole day there.  We watch the fireworks from the beach.  It's the perfect ending to a good holiday," said Kailua resident Wyatt Pedro.

But organizers of the big show in the sky haven't always been able to put as much planning into the pyrotechnic display.

"In the past few years, its been a last minute ordeal, everyone crunching at the last minute to see if there will be a show at all," said Jody Sakaba, with the Kailua Fireworks Committee.

Last year, the skies over Kailua beach were dark on the 4th, because efforts for a fireworks show fizzled.

"I was disappointed. Its always a great thing. They should have had it. It just wasn't the 4th of July without it," said Kailua resident Ken Wilson.

To make sure that doesn't happen again, a number of residents formed a non-profit organization to put on this year's show and future celebrations.

Instead of relying on big contributions from businesses to light up the night, a fundraising campaign will be launched at residents.

But would Kailua resident be willing to pay for this annual tradition and if so, how much?

"If they did a fee, I wouldn't mind paying $15 or under," said Kailua resident Julie Nguyen-Livic.

In fact, the Kailua fireworks committee will be asking for four dollars this July.

"We're going to kick off campaign "4 for the fourth", and we will be asking every resident or those who come to the fireworks show to give four dollars," said Sakaba.

That money will go to the $70,000 cost of the show, which pays for more than just the pyrotechnics, but also police, permitting and signs needed for the big event at the beach.

"Oh that's reasonable, I was thinking about $5," said Kailua resident Howell Mahoe.

Sakaba said while they are focused on getting this year's fireworks show off the ground, there is hope more contributions by the community will lead to an all day celebration in the future.

Any extra money raised this year will go to the display in 2014.


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