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OOH! AAH! Get ready for another dazzling Fourth of July fireworks display in Hilo Bay

Kailua-Kona in for ‘spectacular’ fireworks show July 4

Kailua-Kona’s Fourth of July celebration will kickoff this year with a new event for children.

The Lava Kids Liberty Fun Run, for keiki ages 5-16, will lead the festivities beginning at 5:50 p.m. Registration starts at 5 p.m.

The event is broken up into 1-mile and 0.5-mile runs, with the longest route starting at Big Island Honda. The shorter version begins at the northside lawn of Hulihee Palace. Both end at the Coconut Grove Marketplace volleyball court.

Prizes will be given to the most patriotically dressed, but each finisher will receive a flag.

Cliff Kopp, Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association chair, said the organization previously tried to start a fun run but it never happened. He hopes it can become an annual event.

"We wanted to do it; it never played out," he said.

"This time, they actually came to us," Kopp added, referring to sponsors.

The entry fee is two cans of food for the Food Basket.

The annual parade, organized by the association, will begin shortly after at 6 p.m.

Kopp said he is expecting 60-65 entries.

The main event, of course, is the fireworks show in Kailua Bay.

That begins at 8 p.m., and Donald Pascual, pyrotechnician for Hawaii Explosives and Pyrotechnics, is promising "10 minutes of spectacular pyrotechnics."

"You are going to get a real classy show," he said.

The group needs to raise $34,500 for the show, according to its website. It has raised $29,250.

Kopp said he doesn’t expect funding to be a problem.

"That’s nothing considerable," he said. "We have two weeks to go."

Kopp said the Hawaii County Fire Department is providing about $13,500. That money comes from revenue from the sale of individual fireworks permits. Fire Department Capt. Bobby Perreira said the department splits revenue between East and West Hawaii.

This year, the show in Hilo Bay is receiving about $17,000, organizers said.

But the fireworks show in Waikoloa also gets part of West Hawaii’s share.

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Organizers are promising another dazzling display during the Fourth of July fireworks show in Hilo Bay.

But road work on Kamehameha Avenue is prompting a few changes this year, with the kupuna viewing station being relocated from Bayfront to Coconut Island. The barbecue cookoff also will be moved to the mauka soccer fields.

“The problem is because we can’t use that side right now next to the area they are digging up,” said Roxcie Waltjen, county cultural education administrator. “We had to move things around.”

The county’s Elderly Activities Division will provide shuttle service from the Kamana Center to Coconut Island. Individuals 55 and older can call 961-8710 for more information.

The island previously was the location of the fireworks show, which was moved to a barge last year.

Donald Pascual, pyrotechnician for Hawaii Explosives and Pyrotechnics, said the company again will use a barge, which puts the launch site in the middle of the bay.

“Again, the people of Hilo are going to be treated to a real classy fireworks display,” he said.

The Fourth of July events are expected to go off without a hitch, though organizers were recently scrambling to find a nonprofit group to act as its sponsor.

Hilo Jaycees filled that role last year after taking over from Lehua Jaycees. But the organization couldn’t take on those duties, which include handling funds from the county, since paperwork that allows it to act as a “vendor” had not been approved by the state, said Kelton Chang, executive vice president.

Destination Hilo, which promotes tourism in East Hawaii, is taking its place.

Hilo Jaycees will contribute $6,000 to fill a funding gap for the show, Chang said. The show costs about $33,000.

Dinnie Kysar, Destination Hilo president, said the county approached the group about acting as the event’s “fiscal agent” Tuesday.

“They needed a nonprofit organization” to manage the funds, she said. “We are delighted to be doing it.”

Kysar said the Fire Department is contributing $17,000 from individual fireworks permit revenue. Another $10,000 comes from Hilo Councilman J Yoshimoto’s contingency fund, Waltjen said.

The fireworks show starts at 8 p.m. Waltjen said the Bayfront highway will be closed to vehicle traffic from 6-10 p.m. to make the shoreline more accessible for viewing.

Pascual said the show will be “10 minutes of spectacular pyrotechnics.”

But the day is not all oohs and aahs.

At 7 a.m., a “Salute to Our Veterans” 5K run/walk event is scheduled at Liliuokalani Gardens. It’s sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3830.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places for each age group, fastest male, fastest female, most patriotically dressed, best decorated wheelchair, largest group, and for people who traveled the longest distance to participate. To register, contact Marlene Hapai at 966-9894.

The Hilo Bay Cookoff will be hosted July 3-4 at the soccer fields on the mauka side of Kamehameha Avenue. Trophies will be awarded to the top three participants in barbecue beef, chicken, pork, brisket and chili categories. Ten teams have signed up, and those who still want to show off their barbecue skills can contact coordinator Rick Fredricks at 935-1860.

The Hawaii County Band will perform at 7 p.m. at the Mooheau Bandstand.

For more information, contact Waltjen at 961-8706.

Email Tom Callis at


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