A WEST END fireworks show exceeded expectations during July Fourth week.
The evidence came when there was a short lull after 40 minutes of fireworks and people began heading to their cars figuring the show had already been longer than usual.
Yet the pyrotechnics were far from over.
People stood, holding onto blankets and chairs as if ready to depart, but colors bursting in the sky kept their feet planted in place.
The explosions and streaks of color expanded until the surface of the entire bay was lit in dazzling brilliance.
For many West End residents, the free fireworks display Saturday night is the best part of Clallam Bay Sekiu Fun Days, which this year was Friday-Sunday.
The annual event included art exhibits, a parade, a fun run and lots of food.
This also was the first year for “Music in the Park,” which featured musical performers from noon until 10 p.m.
Down by the water, the fireworks show begins very early.
It’s put on by average folks setting up on the beach next to state Highway 112, which connects Clallam Bay and Sekiu.
Campfires dot the shoreline.
Children and adolescents gather in packs to set off their families’ supplies of fireworks.
In these boisterous packs, it seems like every youthful powder-monkey is yelling at the same time, but pack members share a singular explosive purpose.
Adults relax by the fires in chairs, calmly chatting with each other.
Some walk the pebbly beach and see friends who also showed up early.
A few brave souls splash and play in the gentle surf.
It feels like a community picnic.
Yet instead of barbecue, the primary scent is black-powder sulfur.
At times the beach is thick with loud bangs, whistles, smoke and the faint scent of citronella to ward off mosquitoes and other bloodsucking bugs.
As the dark begins to blur shadows, these rookie pyrotechnicians along the beach grow bored with bottle rockets and firecrackers.
Explosions get louder and colors shoot higher.
In Sekiu proper, an equally bright and noisy bunch collects in open spaces in and around the fishing resorts.
From the small jetty in front of the Breakwater Restaurant, an opening act of fireworks whet everyone’s appetite for what was to come.
However, when big bangs came from across the bay in Sekiu, all explosions ceased in silent reverence for what was to come.
Olson’s Resort traditionally has been the main sponsor of the big, advertised fireworks show.
The resort’s owner, Brandon Mason, said their 800-foot jetty was “strung from end to end” all day with big explosions.
Mason said the main fireworks show is financed by donations.
But with the fishing regulations cutting into business, West End folks wondered if there would be much of a show at all.
“We have had a lot more donations from the fishermen who come from all over Washington,” Mason said.
“They have really stepped up and filled the void.”
Among the biggest donors was Tracy Bloom of Tracy’s Insulation Inc. in Sequim.
Three different entities, including the Makah tribe, helped run the show.
Throughout the fireworks display from Mason’s jetty, strange lights were cast into the timbered hillside behind the resort.
The images moved and scrambled like fuzzy rainbows from a prism.
It was after 11 p.m. Saturday before the big show ended, but the beach was still going strong with brilliant flashes of light and chest-rattling explosions.
Zorina Barker lives in the Sol Duc Valley with her husband, a logger, and two children she home-schools.
Submit items and ideas for the column to her at zorina [email protected], or phone her at 360-327-3702. West End Neighbor appears in the PDN every other Tuesday.
Her next column will be July 25.