Oak Harbor offers plenty of bang for your buck
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
July 2, 2012 · Updated 4:26 PM
Tents have been popping up throughout Oak Harbor filled with the explosive things people will use to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Several organizations started selling fireworks Thursday and will continue through the Fourth of July holiday on Wednesday.
Some of the pyrotechnic sales are being made by nonprofits or children’s groups raising money for their programs.
The Soroptimists International of Oak Harbor is back again this year selling fireworks out of a booth located on Highway 20 between 7-Eleven and Whidbey Island Bank.
Among other things, the group, which focuses on the betterment of women and children, offers scholarships and a mentoring program to help a woman, often a young single mother, get back into the workforce.
“We’re thankful for anything the community will give us so we can give it back,” said Marilee Paddock, a Soroptimist who was working the booth and waiting for customers on Thursday.
Further in town, Candace Burkey, manager of Anacortes cheerleading facility Island Cheer, was selling fireworks to raise money to cover the costs of competition. Other firework stands are simply in the old fashioned business of making money.
Fireworks may be fun, but if not used properly under adult supervision they can lead to trouble, and laws regulate their use.
Generally, fireworks can be discharged daily between noon and 11 p.m. through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5. Coupeville has a more restrictive ordinance. The Central Whidbey town allows discharge of fireworks from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. only on the Fourth of July. Coupeville also allows only one permit for the sale of fireworks. Mayor Nancy Conard said no organization applied for the permit this year.
Only “safe and sane” fireworks are allowed to be sold on Whidbey. Such fireworks include sparklers, cylindrical fountains, wheels, mines and ground spinners.
Law enforcement receives numerous calls around the Fourth of July concerning fireworks. Sheriff Mark Brown said many calls are regarding fireworks being discharged off hours, while some folks ask questions about illegal fireworks or complain about gunshots being fired.
He said deputies “triage” calls. Fireworks calls generally are a low priority and deputies respond to them when they can.
Fireworks complaints are generally higher in unincorporated parts of Island County. Brown said those areas attract people from communities that have more restrictive fireworks laws.
He noted that there are two professional fireworks displays that take place next week on Whidbey Island. Freeland has a fireworks display the evening of July 3 while Oak Harbor’s fireworks display starts at 10:30 p.m. on July 4. Oak Harbor’s celebration also features a parade that begins at 11 a.m. in downtown.
“I hope everybody is safe and controls their alcohol intake,” Brown said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.