SEQUIM — A public Fourth of July celebration in 2021 remains a possibility in the city of Sequim as city council members and staff continue to explore options, including the idea to bring back a popular illuminated drone show.
What direction the city will go in, how much a celebration could cost and other variables remain to be determined.
Council members asked the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) to discuss funding a drone show on the Fourth of July next year.
But on June 8 the committee recommended keeping the drone show a part of the new Sequim Sunshine Festival, which held its first event in March.
Barbara Hanna, Sequim’s communications and marketing director, said at Monday’s city council meeting the LTAC recognized the importance of observing the Fourth of July but saw the drone show as an anchor for the Sunshine Festival.
“(LTAC) funds can only be used from the recommendation of (the committee),” she said. “We’re going to have to make a decision on 2021 by September at the latest for the Sunshine Festival. If there are too many unknowns, we may come back strong in 2022.”
An estimated $46,410 cost for next year’s proposed Fourth of July show from Firefly Drone Shows of Waterford, Mich., would bring back 100 illuminated drones for a 15-minute personalized, choreographed show.
The city paid $32,800 plus hotel rooms in March because of its time of year and other factors.
Council member Dennis Smith suggested a Fourth of July drone show earlier this year.
“I’m still in favor of doing it, wherever the money comes from,” he said.
Smith said one of his “primary drivers” for putting on an event came after the city banned consumer fireworks.
Council member Brandon Janisse, council liaison on LTAC, said he sympathized with those seeking a Fourth of July celebration but said, “If we’re going to continue to support the Sunshine Festival then we need to leave it as is — even with as much as I’d like to see it on the Fourth of July.”
Council members Troy Tenneson and Sarah Kincaid supported a Fourth of July celebration of some sort next year. Tenneson suggested getting a bid from a fireworks company to add more options.
City Manager Charlie Bush said a Fourth of July celebration could be included in the 2021 budget. If council members opt for a fireworks display instead of a drone show, they could also bring a funding request back to LTAC, he said.
Hanna said city staff will discuss options, and Bush plans to bring ideas back up at the next City Council meeting on July 13.
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 [email protected].