Independence Day at Fort Vancouver has something for everyone, all day long. The big attraction, of course, is the fireworks, once promoted as the largest show West of the Mississippi.
Beginning in 2010 an admission of $7.00 was added at the gate (age 13 & over) and $5 if you buy in advance on line. It is the biggest Fireworks show in the Portland Vancouver area.
Since the 1860s when the U.S. Army took over Fort Vancouver, it’s been a tradition at the historical site “to make as much noise as possible on the Fourth of July,” said Fort Vancouver park ranger Mike Twist.
Revelers at the Fort Vancouver National Site continued the noise-making tradition throughout Independence Day with fireworks, outdoor concerts on a main stage, a children’s parade punctuated with classic car horns and bagpipes, reports The Columbian. Earlier in the day, 10 aspiring singers from local high schools competed for college scholarships in the Sing Fourth Teen Vocal Competition on the main stage.
The day culminated with a 20-minute display of fireworks, synchronized to music. A crowd, estimated at 30,000, counted down the show and cheered as the first salvo was set off at 10:05 p.m.
The county issued 41 permits in 2014 to sell fireworks. The county’s ordinance allows people to discharge fireworks between June 28 and July 4, during certain times of day. Oregon, by contrast, restricts fireworks to sparklers and other devices that aren’t as explosive or dramatic.
Mean Gene Fireworks was the prevailing supplier of fireworks in Washington — until Vancouver’s ban on Fireworks — taking effect in 2017. Last year, the Vancouver City Council passed an ordinance that banned the personal use of any fireworks, including sparklers. The new ordinance goes into effect in October.
According to 2015 data from the Washington State Fire Marshal’s office, the use of fireworks caused 241 fires, amounting to $627,080 in damages, as well as 241 injuries. Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 80 percent of illegal fireworks come from Washington. From 2010 to 2014, 727 firework related fires in Portland caused $3.7 million in damages. The number of dogs and cats who run away from their homes increases by 25 percent in the time period around July 4.
Still, the Fort Vancouver Annual Fireworks Display will go on. Admission is $7 at the gate, 12 and younger free, and $10 for parking.
Getting in and out of Vancouver is the tricky bit.