Community impacts fireworks show

Workers gear up for Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July fireworks show while, below, a Dalmation puppy spots his Pet Parade idol. - Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Workers gear up for Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July fireworks show while, below, a Dalmation puppy spots his Pet Parade idol.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Kathy Reed’s nerves were a little frayed watching the Fourth of July fireworks in Oak Harbor last week.

And not because of loud explosions.

Reed, in her first year as the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director, hired a different company to stage this year’s fireworks show, Western Display Fireworks, from Canby, Ore.

It eased her mind to watch the large crowd at Windjammer Park and beyond appear to enjoy the show, which lasted about 45 minutes and drew loud cheers of approval.

“They were fantastic,” Reed said.

Reed said she was pleased with how the Fourth of July festivities went. The holiday celebration marked the sixth-month anniversary to the day of when she started as executive director and began planning for the city’s biggest event.

She said generous support from the business community and residents in Oak Harbor raised the $14,000 needed to fund the fireworks show. She pointed to significant contributions from Whidbey Coffee, Sherwin Williams and Toppins, which made fundraising efforts that much easier.

Last year, donations didn’t cover the cost for the fireworks show.

“Between the three of them, they accounted for about half of the fireworks cost,” Reed said. “They were really the unsung heroes.

“Instead of having to raise $14,000, we only needed to raise $8,000.”

Reed also worked with the Oak Harbor Downtown Merchants Association to bring attractions to historic downtown since the grand parade bypassed the one-way street portion of Pioneer Way.

Reed came up with the idea of holding a pet parade down Pioneer Way, which was a hit among the Whidbey Island dog lovers. Fifty dogs and one rat were entered.

An apple pie bake-off also was popular, leaving Reed to imagine the possibilities in 2014.

“It was a huge hit,” she said. “I’d love to see a red, white and blue bake-off next year.”

That would involve pies using all sorts of different colorful fruit from strawberries and loganberries to blackberries and blueberries.

Applebee’s was a primary sponsor of the bake-off. When the competition was over, pieces of pie were sold off for donations, raising $106 for the North Whidbey Help House food bank.

Reed said she’d also like to consider a diaper dash for young children for 2014. The pet parade looks like a keeper.

“From my standpoint, things couldn’t have gone any better,” Reed said.

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