Later this month, Sequim City Council members will consider bringing an illuminated drone show to town for a 15- minute show on the Fourth of July. (Photo by Barbara Hanna/City of Sequim)

Later this month, Sequim City Council members will consider bringing an illuminated drone show to town for a 15- minute show on the Fourth of July. (Photo by Barbara Hanna/City of Sequim)

Drones for 2021 Fourth of July?

Sequim to seek lodging tax funds

SEQUIM — Following the success of the City of Sequim’s first drone show at March’s Sunshine Festival, the Sequim City Council is considering bringing a similar show to town to celebrate America’s independence in 2021.

Council member Dennis Smith suggested at a May 11 council meeting that city staff look into hosting a drone show on the Fourth of July in 2021 because he was impressed with March’s show.

Barbara Hanna, Sequim’s communications and marketing director, reported at the May 25 meeting that a production by Firefly Drone Shows of Waterford, Mich., is available for the date at a cost of $46,410 — including a 15 percent discount as the company looks to recoup events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With 100 illuminated drones likely near Carrie Blake Community Park, the show would start at about 9:45 p.m. and last about 15 minutes.

Hanna said the city paid $32,800 plus hotel rooms for the crew in March because it’s their offseason and the staff were looking to “break into” the Northwest market.

City council members generally favored the idea and asked if the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC), a five-person committee of hotels, bed and breakfasts and tourism officials, would consider making a recommendation to fund it with its available monies from hotel/motel taxes.

Hanna said the group meets on Monday, and she would propose it to them and bring it back to the council meeting on June 22.

Council member Brandon Janisse, who sits on the committee, said he’s in favor of the idea.

“I think it’s a great alternative (to fireworks),” he said. “We had a wonderful time watching (the drones).”

Hanna said one reason committee members could possibly vote down a recommendation could be because they feel it’s not a good use of lodging tax dollars given that Sequim usually has a lot of visitors at that time already.

If committee members did approve the recommendation, the drone show would fall under the “special event” section of the committee’s provisions.

Fireworks ban

This summer will be the third consecutive year without Fourth of July consumer fireworks allowed in Sequim.

Residents voted in favor to ban the discharge of fireworks in the city in a November 2016 advisory vote with 65.6 percent in favor. The City Council approved the ban soon after the vote.

A city-sponsored fireworks display is allowed by code, but the City Council has taken funding away from the event in recent years due to costs.

The city continues to allow up to four fireworks booths, typically nonprofits, to sell state-approved fireworks in city limits from June 28-July 5; there was only one booth in 2019.

Residents in unincorporated Clallam County are allowed to use legal consumer fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. Friday, June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29-July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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