Fireworks are coming back to the Coastside this Fourth of July, and organizers promise this year's pyrotechnic extravaganza will be the best ever.
After last year's show fizzled due to a lack of donations, volunteers with the American Legion Post 474 redoubled their efforts to ensure this year's event went off without a hitch. Legion officials say those preparations paid off and they have raised about $40,000 for the show.
"We felt like we had the community behind us from the get-go," said Bob Resch, chairman of the Legion's fireworks committee. "The lack of a fireworks show last year got a lot of attention."
Starting in December, a number of restaurants and business leaders contributed time and money for the event. The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company initially gave $10,000 in "seed money." That money helped to put together fundraisers at Sam's Chowder House and the Oceano Hotel and Spa, Resch said.
Now the group believes it has enough money to purchase more than 1,500 fireworks, about twice the number shot off during the last show. Unlike previous shows, the fireworks this year would be shot off by machine and not a ground crew. Resch said the show would last about the same amount of time, about 20 minutes.
As in prior years, the fireworks will be shot off from the southern breakwater barrier of Pillar Point Harbor. The show is expected to be synchronized to music from 89.3 QFM in Pacifica.
Along with fundraising, another challenge for putting on a Coastside fireworks show is obtaining the special-event permits from at least 10 agencies, including the city of Half Moon Bay, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.
As part of the approval from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, organizers must tally all the sea mammals before and after the event to check whether the booming fireworks display affected the animals.
Courtney Davis, an Alameda project manager hired to handle all the paperwork, says the event is on track to get approval from all the agencies.