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Fireworks cure for coronavirus blues

Fireworks light up the night sky adjacent to Heritage Park during 2016.
Brad Coman

What better way to bid farewell to 2020 than to watch something explode?

A pared down version of Gardnerville’s Christmas Kickoff was approved on Tuesday that will include fireworks.

Loosened restrictions on the number of people who can attend events helped encourage the town to decide to hold fireworks and gazebo lighting on Dec. 3.

Unlike previous years, there won’t be food at the event because the state isn’t issuing health permits. There could be performers, because they don’t count toward the 250-person limit.

Town Manager Erik Nilssen said there is no sponsor for the event, which costs $5,100 and that he didn’t feel it would be right to solicit donations.

Board member Ken Miller pointed out that the town didn’t donate $2,500 to the Minden-Tahoe Aviation Roundup, which was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

He said not serving food at the event would provide another source of savings in the form of town worker overtime. Nilssen estimated that not paying the overtime could cover between a third and half of the cost of the fireworks.

“In this year when everyone is down, I think having would be a safe thing to do, without having people congregate too much,” board member Mike Henningsen said.

Linda Slater said she wanted to make sure the town managed residents’ expectations about the event.

“As long as we do good advertising and let everyone know what’s going to happen, we should get a good turnout,” she said.

“The event has really grown and grown and last year was phenomenal,” Chairman Lloyd Higuerra said. “I think we need to put the brakes on it this year, but fireworks are probably the safest thing.”

Chichester Estates resident Beth Hojnacke said she felt fireworks are something the town can do.

“I agree the tree lighting and the fireworks would probably pick up everyone’s spirit,” she said.

The 25th annual Parade of Lights is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 5 with a theme “25 Days of Christmas.”

Organized by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, anyone interested in participating should email Director Alicia Main at amain@carsonvalleynv.org.

Minden confirmed on Friday that the town will will be lighting the gazebo in Minden Park on Dec. 4. Town Manager JD Frisby said the celebration will be reduced, but there are still details to work out.