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Excitement explodes during Sandy's Fourth of July show

by: Contributed photo, The show starts at dusk -- don't forget to get a good seat early!

Sandy's Fourth of July celebration will feature plenty of palm trees, chrysanthemum and peonies.

Before you get out your gardening gloves, realize that these flora are names for individual fireworks that will explode over the Sandy High School football field at dusk Tuesday, July 4.

Clackamas County Bank sponsors this year's community fireworks show.

Julie Snell, the bank's senior vice president, said her company is 'very proud' to be a part of the event. 'We went a few years without this, and I think everybody greatly missed it,' she said.

The fireworks show is the only scheduled entertainment of the evening. Throughout the afternoon, citizens and visitors alike are welcome to bring blankets, chairs, food and games to pass the time leisurely. Alcohol, pets and fireworks are prohibited.

'We talked about adding more to the event,' Snell said, 'but it went so well last year that we decided not to change it. It's nice - you could have little barbecues at home and finish up the evening with some nice fireworks.'

City Manager Scott Lazenby agrees. 'There was some feedback that people appreciated the simplicity of it - it's not a commercial event.'

Norm Rose, a pyrotechnician with Canby-based Western Display, says this year's show will be comparable in size and scope to last year's display, lasting between 20 and 25 minutes. 'It's a truckload of fireworks,' Rose said.

'What's nice about the Sandy show is that it's a community event, more intimate surroundings,' said Rose, whose company produces the Fort Vancouver show, among 250 others across the Northwest on July 4. 'If you've ever been to the big shows, there's 80,000 to 100,000 people there trying to muscle in for a close seat. You don't have to do that here.'

Rose said each show is specially tailored to each city's budget, venue and audience. 'Fort Vancouver's show wouldn't fit in Sandy, but neither would Bend's. The show is really engineered to the venue.'

Sandy's show starts with an 'eye-catching, patriotic opener,' featuring red and blue 'salutes,' followed by red, white and blue 'blooming report shells' (explosions with the deep 'booms'). The main event includes diamond streamers, silver palm trees with tails, golden whirls (which look like a drooping willow tree), golden strobes, chrysanthemum, peonies (explosions that look like flowers), and purple, blue and green tourbillions (which spin at the apex of flight).

Percentage-wise, the grand finale takes up most of the show's time - one-fourth to one-third of the display. 'The grand finale is in four stages, and it builds in transition,' Rose said. 'There are stunning color combinations in each stage, and it gets more aggressive in brilliant colors and thunderous salutes.'

To prepare for the show and to secure the discharge site, all access points to the field, with the exception of the main entrance near Marcy Street, will be closed near dusk.

'If you come too late and try to get on-site, you're not going to get a very good seat,' Rose said. 'We encourage people to come a little early.' The field is open all day July 4.

'I was really sorry to have missed this last year,' said Mayor Linda Malone. Last year's event was the first time the city had fireworks in the better part of a decade.

'I had a lot of comments about how great it was and how glad everyone was that it was reinstated,' Malone said. 'My first experience coming to Sandy was the fireworks display; it made me think it was a community I'd want to live in.'