Tahoe-Douglas takes over fireworks | RecordCourier.com

Tahoe-Douglas takes over fireworks

by Griffin Rogers
Fourth of July fireworks are shown on the South Shore, as seen from Lakeview Commons.
Trisha Leonard | Tahoe Daily Tribune file

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority has turned over the financial reins of two popular fireworks shows, following a recently settled lawsuit that nearly led to their cancellation.

Funding for the Fourth of July and Labor Day fireworks demonstrations will now be the responsibility of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority, which has already helped pay for the events in the past and has now agreed to be the sponsor.

“I’ll just say that Nevada is a much friendlier place to shoot fireworks,” said LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin at a Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, “and that’s why we’ve done that.”

The change in sponsorship won’t affect the shows, she said, but the company behind the fireworks is looking at changing some pyrotechnic products in order to minimize debris.

John Packer, chairman of the TDVA board, said he’s glad the agency was able to keep a 33-year-old Independence Day tradition alive.

“We’re glad to be able to step up,” he said. “It was kind of an 11th-hour thing.”

Combined, the fireworks shows cost about $300,000 and provide an estimated $35 million boost to the local economy, according to LTVA and TDVA officials.

The Fourth of July fireworks show alone draws upward of 75,000 tourists to the area, and officials estimate more than 100,000 people view the spectacle each year.

With the popular American Century Championship not far behind, it won’t be long before South Shore’s streets and beaches are filled by a surge of tourists. In fact, many hotels are already reporting an “incredible” start to the summer, Chaplin said.

“Rooms are really hard to come by and that’s kind of a nice problem to have,” she said.

The LTVA is expecting larger crowds than usual this year, as the economy improves and people feel more comfortable traveling.

With it will come an increase in law enforcement and clean up efforts and a push to get certain roads cleared of construction before the holiday.

Construction on Harrison Avenue, for instance, is expected to be complete by July 4, though nearby streets will need more work.

It was also expected earlier this year that work on the retail portion of the Chateau Project would be done by July 4. However, the new anticipated completion date is July 15, according to Nancy Kerry, city manager for the City of South Lake Tahoe.