Independence Day at Fort Vancouver has something for everyone. The big attraction, of course, is the fireworks, once promoted as the largest show West of the Mississippi. It is the biggest Fireworks show in the Portland Vancouver area.
The July 4 fireworks show at Fort Vancouver is free in 2017, but Fort Vancouver is now the only legal fireworks display in town. A fireworks ban went into effect this year within Vancouver’s city limits.
Entertainment starts at 6 p.m., with fireworks at 10:05 p.m. (Gates open at 8 a.m.) The 2016 event drew an estimated 35,000, reports The Columbian.
This year’s turnout may hit 45,000. Some streets will be temporarily closed, and others around the event site will be closed or under traffic control all day.
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.
Here are some pictures and a short video of the 2017 show:
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 went into effect last 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.
Getting in and out of Vancouver is the tricky bit. Don’t plan on watching the show from Hayden Island, though. Beach access is limited to around the Red Lion Hotel and most all locations restrict vehicular access to residents unless you have an official pass.