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Feb. 24, 2024

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Fort set up for annual fireworks show

City’s free fireworks display set to begin at 10:05 p.m.

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
2 Photos
Workers from Wager Audio set up the main stage Monday morning along East Fifth Street in preparation for Tuesday’s Fourth of July festivities at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Workers from Wager Audio set up the main stage Monday morning along East Fifth Street in preparation for Tuesday’s Fourth of July festivities at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The city of Vancouver’s biggest annual event could draw even more people Tuesday, thanks to a couple of new wrinkles.

The July 4 fireworks show at Fort Vancouver is free this year, with organizers trying a new approach.

And when it comes to bombs bursting in air, the 10:05 p.m. display at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is the only legal fireworks display in town. A fireworks ban went into effect this year within Vancouver’s city limits.

The 2016 event drew an estimated 35,000, said Mike True, president and CEO of the nonprofit Fort Vancouver National Trust, which produces the event. This year’s turnout for the celebration — officially known as Independence Day at Fort Vancouver presented by Bank of America — might hit 45,000.

If You Go

  • What:Independence Day at Fort Vancouver presented by Bank of America.
  • Where: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
  • When: Programming starts at 6 p.m., with fireworks at 10:05 p.m. (Gates open at 8 a.m.)
  • Cost: Free.

There is another variable, however. With the Tuesday holiday, “Some people might leave town for a four-day weekend,” True said.

The program begins at 6 p.m. with live music from the main stage. While previous July 4 programming started at noon, 80 percent of those attending arrived after 6 p.m., prompting Fort Vancouver National Trust officials to focus on the evening program. The 20-minute pyrotechnic show will be broadcast on KGW Channel 8, starting at 10 p.m.

While admission is free, people are encouraged to make a $5 donation. It has cost more than $300,000 to produce the recent July 4 events, True said Monday morning as workers were setting the stage for Tuesday’s festivities.

At one site along East Fifth Street, that actually meant setting up the stage: a crew from Wager Acoustic was getting the main stage show-ready.

That included hoisting an array of speakers at the end of the stage into the air. Suspending the speakers from the stage’s framework helps get the sound to people farther back in the audience, rather than blasting the people in the front rows, company owner Brad Wager said.

Another crew was installing more than 100 portable toilets Monday. One cluster was set up east of the main stage opposite Pearson Air Museum, another just south of the bandstand on the Parade Ground, along the road that runs through the center of the park.

Another group near the air museum was setting up the always-popular water wagon, where Clark Public Utilities will provide free cups of water. The wagon has been stocked with 10,000 12-ounce cups.

Another set-up chore involved ringing the site with more than a mile of temporary fencing.

July 4 Festivities

  • Fort Vancouver: 6 to 10:30 p.m., Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 E. Fifth St., Vancouver. $5 suggested donation. Prime Viewing: $50, $25 for ages 6 to 17. 4th.fortvan.org
  • Felida:Children’s parade and party, 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Felida Community Park, Northwest 36th Avenue at 122nd Street, Vancouver. 360-573-4030
  • Vancouver:Friends of the Carpenter/central Vancouver neighborhood picnic, 5 to 8 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church, 8310 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver. 360-694-3661 or www.immanuelvancouver.org
  • Port of Camas-Washougal:4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Port of Camas-Washougal, 24 S. A St., Washougal. 360-835-2196 or portcw.com
  • Ridgefield: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. around Ridgefield Overlook Park. $5 for kids zone, $20 to $35 for fun runs. www.ridgefield4th.com
  • Yacolt: 10 a.m. to late, Yacolt Town Hall, 202 W. Cushman St., Yacolt. 360-686-3922 or www.townofyacolt.com/general/page/olde-tyme-family-fun-games-parade

Pedestrian access gates are at Evergreen Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way, near the O.O. Howard House; along East Reserve Street, just east of the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center; and at Fifth and East Reserve streets, just east of Pearson Air Museum.

The gates will be staffed starting at 8 a.m.

Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter