Arts and Entertainment

Fourth of July festival in Federal Way: All you need to know

A scene from the 2010 Red, White and Blues Festival in Federal Way, which ended with a 22-minute fireworks finale at Celebration Park.  - Mirror file photo
A scene from the 2010 Red, White and Blues Festival in Federal Way, which ended with a 22-minute fireworks finale at Celebration Park.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Federal Way’s annual Red, White and Blues Festival is free and open to the public. The event starts at 6 p.m. July 4 at Celebration Park, 1095 S. 324th St. The festival concludes with a 22-minute fireworks show.

The festival includes live music, food and activities for all ages, with a designated play area for young children.

On-site parking is available for $7 and opens at 5 p.m. No pets, canopies, umbrellas or barbecues are allowed on the event grounds. Service animals are permitted.

Activities include three-legged races, haystack hunts, a hot dog eating contest, and an open volleyball court. A designated play area will be set up for children ages 3 to 5.

The event also features a variety of crafts ranging from decorative pins and head bands, to patriotic red, white and blue leis.

Live music from Puget Sound artists: Rhythm Nation, Randy Oxford Band and Whiskey River. World renowned performer and Federal Way resident Roberto the Magnificent will be the main stage emcee.

Food vendors will offer barbecue, sandwiches, salads, espresso, snacks and more. The event is sponsored by the Federal Way Arts Commission, 4Culture, Federal Way Mirror, Waste Management and Red Canoe Credit Union.

Main stage schedule

6 p.m.: Welcome by Roberto the Magnificent

6 to 7 p.m.: Rhythm Nation (Top 40)

7 to 7:15 p.m.: Mayor’s welcome

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Randy Oxford band (award-winning blues)

9 to 10 p.m.: Whiskey River (Southern Rock Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute)

10:15 p.m.: Fireworks display

Activities schedule

6 p.m.: Visual arts and activities areas open

6 to 9 p.m.: Family games and activities for all ages

6 to 9 p.m.: Sports clinics

For more information, contact (253) 835-6900.

July 4 fireworks show

Capping off the Red, White and Blues Festival is a 22-minute fireworks show choreographed by Entertainment Fireworks Inc. The company has coordinated Federal Way’s Fourth of July fireworks for almost a decade. Here are some behind-the-scenes facts about the fireworks show at Celebration Park.

• Federal Way’s show usually features approximately 1,200 fireworks.

• Orders for the fireworks are placed a year ahead. Some of the materials the company uses are produced domestically, while others are made in China, then sent to the United States.

• Music for the fireworks show is chosen by clients, then digitally edited. Choreography software helps match fireworks shells to a particular mood or piece of the music. Other technology assists with synchronization and firing cues.

• A few days prior to the show, Entertainment Fireworks employees will pack the fireworks shells into a truck and transport them to their destination. Extra care is taken to prevent an explosion. The shells are packed in static-proof bags, then put in specially designed cardboard boxes.

• According to Entertainment Fireworks, shows can take one to seven days to set up, depending upon size and design complexity. A small show can be effectively set up and fired with a crew of three people. Large events can have as many as 50 people involved with preparation.

• Setup for the show begins July 3. A crew prepares oversized wood boxes full of sand. The shells are placed in plastic tubes within the sandboxes, then wired to a control board on the day of the show. They are numbered according to the choreographer’s desired order. An electric current will be sent to each firework, beginning an upward propulsion and ending in an explosion of colorful dancing sparks.

• Licensed pyrotechnicians fire in groups of three, with a “shooter,” an assistant who provides needed light, and another crew member acting as a safety backup.


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