The Hapo River of Fire show will be bigger, better and more eye-popping that ever tonight, said John Falleen, the lead pyrotechnic guy behind the Kennewick fireworks display.
"The opening of the show will be 20 seconds long," Falleen said at a news conference Thursday in Pasco. "It'll pick up speed as the show progresses."
Falleen, with Western Fireworks, has been the pyrotechnic guy for the Kennewick show for nine years and guarantees a light show more extravagant than years past.
KORD radio will broadcast music to accompany the light show, so even if you can't see the fireworks, you'll be able to hear the patriotic music if you tune in to 102.7 FM.
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The fireworks display, whose major sponsor is HAPO credit union, starts about 10 p.m. from a barge anchored off-shore in the Columbia River west of the main entrance off Highway 240.
The display lasts about 35 to 40 minutes.
Across the river about the same time in Pasco, a professional aerial fireworks show, led by pyrotechnician Chat Beebe with Wolverine Fireworks of Seattle, will light up the sky at Gesa Stadium.
That show also lasts about a 20 minutes, but Beebe said they will be the most exciting minutes of Independence Day.
"We're got some surprises in store so I can't give you all the details," Beebe said Thursday. "But we plan to keep a lot of fireworks lower this year to give the audience in the stadium a great view."
Admission to the stadium is free. The show is sponsored by the city of Pasco.
Other Independence Day fun starts much earlier in both cities.
Pasco's Grand Old Fourth festivities start with a Kiwanis pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at Memorial Park, 1520 W. Shoshone St. Cost is $5.
Then at 8 a.m., the annual Camp Patriot Fun Run begins from the Pasco Sporting Complex next to TRAC. The 5k and 1-mile run/walk starts at Gesa Stadium, 6200 Burden Blvd.
A street dance is planned for children at 9:15 a.m. at Memorial Park followed by the Grand Old Fourth parade at 10 a.m.
The parade with U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings as the grand marshal, starts at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Sylvester Street, heads west on Sylvester, turns south on 14th Avenue, then east on Clark Street and ends at the corner of 12th Avenue and Clark Street, near Memorial Park, where festivities will continue throughout the afternoon.
In Columbia Park in Kennewick, events start about noon.
There will be kids games, face painting, Medstar ambulance tours and a petting zoo, plus craft and food booths throughout the afternoon.
The J&S Dreamland Express train will run 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It's free today for kids. Adults pay $1.
Admission to the park for the day is $7 per carload.
At the west end of Columbia Park in Richland, the new Reach center opens to the public today.
Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 students and seniors and free to ages 5 and younger.
The Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre group performs the Sound of Music at the Reach outdoor theater starting at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the show are $25 adults, $20 seniors, $15 for students and are available at the event. The performance repeats Sunday and again July 10-13.
Other Fourth of July events include:
The Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Park in downtown Prosser. There will be food vendors, a stage show, obstacle course and games throughout the day. Then at 10 p.m. the fireworks show starts at Art Fiker Stadium at Prosser High School, 1433 Paterson Road. There is no admission to the park or the fireworks show.
At 4 p.m., the Independence Day parade begins, starting between North Sixth and North First streets, turning left on Edison Avenue, then right on 16th Street, ending at the high school. The Lions Club of Sunnyside will present its fireworks show at dusk in the play field at Sunnyside High School, 1801 E. Edison Ave. All events are free. Gates open at 4 p.m. There also will be musical performances, games, contests and food vendors.
The Fourth of July Sun Faire starts with a sun run at 8 a.m. at Lions Park, 815 E. Pine St. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and goes down the main street, ending at the flagpole at Lions Park. There also will be a demolition derby at the fairgrounds, 831 S. Reynolds Road. Admission is $8 for adults and ages 6 and younger are free. A free fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. at Lions Park.
Independence Day fun in Boardman starts with a breakfast at 7 a.m. at Marina Park, 1 Marine Drive, N.W. There will be a fun run at 8 a.m. at the park. The parade starts at 11 a.m. at Main Street and Boardman Avenue in the downtown area and winds through town, ending back at the start. Starting at noon, there will be kids games, musical entertainment, facepainting, a horseshoe tournament, a puppet show, hula hoop contest and more. A beer garden opens at 4 p.m., there will be DJ music from 1 to 6 p.m., and the rock band Cruise Control performs at 6 p.m., all at Marina Park. Admission is free to all events.
Independence Day fun in Hermiston starts at 1 at Butte Park, 1245 N. W. Seventh St. There will be a pool party, barbecue, bounce houses, car show, magic show, craft booths and food vendors, wrapping up with a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Admission is free.
The Fourth of July in the Park festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Pioneer Park, which borders Alder, Division and Whitman streets in the heart of Walla Walla. There will be arts and crafts, culinary delights, activities for kids, and nonstop entertainment. The fireworks show starts at dusk on the athletic field at Walla Walla Community College, 500 Tausick Way. Admission is free to all events.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal