Fire officials and law enforcement are preparing for fireworks in the casino corridor after what seemed like a dead-end effort to revive the show turned out to be successful.
Gardnerville resident Jonathan Ruppel, 20, pulled off the impossible in just a few days after receiving backing from the Shops at Heavenly Village as well as the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association.
The show will take place at about 9:20 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
“Our biggest issue then was the location,” Ruppel said. “So the Laub family was very generous and kind, and they were willing to let us use their building to host the show.”
One of the biggest concerns for the show’s planners is making sure to conduct a safe show. And while the annual “Lights on the Lake” fireworks take place over water, this year, there will only be a ground show in the casino corridor with a dry forest as the backdrop.
Ruppel said he and his backers have been working diligently with Tahoe Douglas Fire and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to ensure maximum safety at the event.
“These will not be normal fireworks to help ensure that the fire risk is as low as possible,” Ruppel said. “They will be smaller in size and we still want to make it as high intensity as possible, just with smaller shells that will reduce the fallout and make cleaning up as easy as possible.”
After taking time to evaluate the space for the show and trying to decide what display would be best, the Sheriff’s Office and Tahoe Douglas Fire developed a plan to ensure a safe, and fun, event.
DCSO Undersheriff Ron Elges said that due to the change of venue, they would be taking extra precautions on the night of the event.
“We are preparing for an increase in attendance during the fireworks show in the casino core by increasing our personnel numbers in that area,” Elges said in an email. “We want to ensure the safety of visitors and residents. We would like to remind people our high elevations and heat combined with alcohol consumption can cause safety and health problems.”
Ruppel warned that because the show is smaller, it will be hard to view from the lake.
“If they’re in the Hard Rock or near the casino corridor, and any location around there that’s in sight of the Michael Laub building, they should have a great view of it,” Ruppel said.
Elges said that there would be extra law enforcement coverage in those areas to account for all safety concerns, but warned that people should plan ahead for a crowded event.
Ruppel said that after a year of grief and loss due to the COVID pandemic, people are finally ready to get back in the spirit of celebrating. He said this was one of the exact reasons why he was so determined to have a holiday show.
“Fireworks on our Independence Day unite friends and families like no other event, and really are more than purely for entertainment purposes,” Ruppel said. “So many people lost their lives fighting passionately for what they believed in to make our country free and independent how it is today. I couldn’t sit and watch as the best way to honor and celebrate this faded away.”
One of the show’s backers, the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, is also excited for the event.
“We understand the challenges of this year with executing our normal, world-renowned ”Lights on the Lake” fireworks show,” the association said in a statement, “but believe that a smaller, safe fireworks experience this year at Stateline will be to the benefit of our visiting guests and locals as we celebrate our country’s independence.”