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Island to celebrate July 4 with 5K, rodeo, fireworks

Independence Day is set to go off with a bang.

The county’s annual Hilo Bay Blast is Thursday, July 4, and activities throughout the day culminate at 8 p.m. with an explosive, 10-minute-long fireworks display over Hilo Bay.

“Hilo is our hometown for our company, so we’re really happy to get to do the show each year,” said Bruce Albrecht, operations manager for Hawaii Explosives and Pyrotechnics, the company putting on the display. “We do shows all around the state, but it’s always nice to do one for the hometown crowd.”

Albrecht said the company does have “some exciting new effects this year to introduce.” The show will include a variety of different shells, and “new cascading waterfalls that we’ll showcase,” among others.

Those watching may also see some of the company’s “jellyfish” shells, which Albrecht said look like jellyfish, with a half-round top and arms that trail down.

“They’re pretty cool. I’m excited about those shells this year.”

Fireworks are set to begin at 8 p.m. and will be synchronized to patriotic music on KWXX.

The fireworks display will be set off from a barge in the bay, which Bert Mukai, administrator of the county Parks and Recreation Department’s Culture and Education division, said provides better and safer viewing for the audience.

The event is a collaboration and provides opportunities a single organization might not be able to offer, he said.

“I feel the Fourth of July is a family event. It’s basically one of the first summer events of the year,” Mukai said. “… We offer various activities and safe activities for the day in the Hilo area.”

The day’s events kick off at 7 a.m. Thursday with the Salute to Our Veterans Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk at Liliuokalani Gardens.

Sponsored by the VFW Post 3830, the 5K is in recognition of those in uniform, past, present and future.

Registration is $25 and prizes will be awarded in various categories.

For more information or to register, visit or contact Mike or Pat Sauer at 965-0565 or

The day continues with local vintage, classic and futuristic vehicles at the Hot Rides Expo, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the mauka soccer fields on Kamehameha Avenue.

All show vehicles can participate at no cost and can roll into the vacant gas station at the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Pauahi Street at 7:30 a.m.

Individuals interested in participating in the car show should contact Francis Rodillas at 896-3467 or email

Ol’ School Band, Randy Lorenzo and Friends, DD and the High Rollers, Patio Productions and East Side Shredders will take the stage at the Expo from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Keiki activities will be available at the Hilo soccer fields and will include water slides, bouncers and the “Wicked Bowls” wagon.

Food vendors will be available.

The Isles, located near Suisan Fish Market across from Liliuokulani Gardens, will be the kupuna fireworks viewing station.

Elderly Services Division will provide a shuttle to the Isles from the Kamana Senior Center, 127 Kamana St., from 5-7 p.m. and a return shuttle from 8:30-9 p.m.

Individuals 55 and older should call 961-8710 for more information.

The Hawaii County Band will perform their annual Fourth of July concert at 7 p.m. at the Mooheau Bandstand.

Hilo Bay Blast is presented in partnership with Destination Hilo, Hawaii Explosives and Pyrotechnics, Hawaii County Fair Foundation (Hilo Jaycees) and the state.

Other celebrations are planned around the Big Island.

Gates for the 57th annual Parker Ranch Fourth of July Rodeo and Horse Races open at 7 a.m. Thursday at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea.

The rodeo will feature crafts, food and keiki activities, including a petting zoo and pony rides.

The grand entry parade is at 9 a.m. and rodeo events continue until noon.

Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the gate. Children under 12 are free.

The Volcano Village Fourth of July parade and festival kicks off 9 a.m. Thursday at Cooper Center, 19-4030 Wright Road in Volcano.

The parade starts at the Volcano Post Office and ends at Cooper Center for a fun-filled festival featuring live music and entertainment, games for keiki, traditional and local food, craft fair and silent auction.

Parade roadways close at 8:15 a.m.

In West Hawaii, the Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association presents its Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Extravaganza.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday from West Hawaii Today, 75-5580 Kuakini Highway, winds its way down Alii Drive to Royal Kona Resort.

With the theme of “The Pride of Hawaii with Liberty and Aloha for All,” the grand marshal is Lt. Col. Loreto Borce Jr., commander at U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area.

Fireworks will be shot from a barge in Kailua Bay at 8 p.m.

There also will be fireworks at Queens’ Marketplace in Waikoloa at 8 p.m.

Email Stephanie Salmons at

July 4 road closures and restrictions

According to information provided by the county:

• Lihiwai Street, which runs through Liliuokalani Gardens, will be closed for the entire day Thursday and will reopen Friday, July 5.

• Bayfront Highway will close from 6-10 p.m. Thursday for fireworks viewing and gates at the Mooheau Bus Terminal, Mooheau Park ball fields and adjacent soccer fields will be open to allow access during the fireworks exhibition.

• All events are drug, alcohol and litter free.

• Personal fireworks and smoking are prohibited at all beach parks.

• The Wailoa Small Boat Harbor basin parking area at the mouth of the Wailoa River will be barred to unauthorized vehicles. Only owners of vessels currently moored in the harbor will be allowed to park their vehicles in the closed area, but the restrooms in the closed area will be open for public use.

• Access under the Wailoa Bridge via the catwalk will be closed.

• No open fires are allowed in the small boat harbor and mooring areas. Fireworks and alcohol are not permitted in the small boat harbor and Wailoa State Park.

• Drones are not allowed within five miles of Hilo International Airport.

• All marine vessels, including kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards operating at night are required to have navigation lights and personal flotation devices.

• A 100-yard safety zone will be established around the fireworks barge.

Fireworks reminders

Permits for fire crackers will be issued through 8 p.m. Thursday, July 4, and can be purchased at:

• Phantom Fireworks Tent Hilo, Walmart Center, Hilo

• Phantom Fireworks Tent Kona, Kona Commons parking lot

• Fire Administration Hilo, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. July 1-3 at the County Building, 25 Aupuni St.

• Fire Administration Kona, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 1-3, West Hawaii Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building E, second floor.

Each permit costs $25 and allows for the purchase up to 5,000 individual firecrackers. Permits will be issued to individuals 18 or older and are nontransferable, and non-refundable.

Permits are not required for novelties and paperless firecrackers.

Firecrackers with a valid permit and consumer fireworks are allowed to be set off from 1-9 p.m. Thursday only.

It is unlawful to buy, sell, possess, or set off any aerial luminary device such as sky lanterns and Hawaii lanterns. Dispose of those items with amnesty by contacting the fire department at 932-2911.

Hawaii Fire Department Chief Darren Rosario said in a recent news release that it is illegal to remove the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any firework; throw fireworks from a vehicle; set off any firework at any time not within the time period allowed; within 1,000 feet of any operating hospital, nursing home, home for the elderly or animal hospital; in or on any school building or property; on any highway, alley, street, sidewalk or other public way, and in any park, or within 1,000 feet of a church during the periods when services are held. This includes the Hilo Bayfront and Liliuokalani Park areas.

Rosario said it also is illegal for any person to offer for sale, sell, or give any firework to minors, and for any minor to possess, sell or use any firework, except under the immediate supervision of an adult.

Individuals using fireworks should take precautions to prevent fires and injuries.

According to HFD, have a water hose connected to a water source or a fire extinguisher readily available and wet down surrounding brush prior to setting off firework if necessary; supervise children playing with fireworks at all times; set fireworks off in an area away from dry grass, buildings, vehicles, and flammable materials; and soak used fireworks in water prior to disposal.

The fire department will conduct a collection of unused and unwanted firework following Independence Day. Anyone interested in disposing of fireworks should call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2911 for pick-up and drop-off locations.

Also contact the Fire Prevention Bureau for more information on the purchasing of firework permits, disposal of fireworks, or tips on the safe use of fireworks.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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