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Fireworks and more: All you need to know for Federal Way's Fourth of July festivities
Federal Way's annual Red, White and Blues Fourth of July Festival is rearing to go.
The entertainment, featuring games, food and music, runs 6 to 10 p.m. July 4 at Celebration Park, 1095 S. 324th St. A choreographed fireworks show begins at 10:15 p.m. This year's theme is "honoring our heroes."
• The park opens at 6 p.m. for fun and games. A hot dog eating contest and arm wrestling tournament will take place. Signups for both activities begin at 6 p.m. at the performance stage. A preliminary will be held for the arm wrestling tournament. Kids will also have a chance to test their strength at an arm wrestling station. The adult tournament will begin at 7:30 p.m. The hot dog eating competition will take the main stage at 8:45 p.m. There are no preliminary rounds.
• Other entertainment will be available. Interactive art projects, such as creating superhero capes, will also be offered. Games, such as tug-of-war and water balloon toss, will be on site. The inflatable bouncy toys for kids will not be at this year's festival.
• While the games are under way, a couple of bands will provide musical entertainment. Double Wide, a country band, takes the stage at 6 p.m. The blues-inspired Charles White Band will follow at 7:30 p.m. Cherry Cherry, a Neil Diamond tribute band, will round out the musical acts with a 9 p.m. performance.
The magic begins at 10:15 p.m. with a fireworks show. The show lasts roughly 20 minutes. During that time, approximately 1,200 fireworks will be displayed over the park. Entertainment Fireworks Incorporated puts on the show.
"We love what they've done for us in the past," community center supervisor Doug Nelson said.
The fireworks show features music that is reflective of popular culture, meets a variety of interests, has a positive message, carries a good beat and reflects a degree of patriotism. Fireworks are choreographed to emphasize the music, with explosions of color at opportune moments, such as tempo changes. This year, the fireworks will reach great heights, but the width of the exploding sparks will be more contained, Nelson said.
"We're going more for height," he said. "It's better viewing for participants."
Putting the fireworks display together is about a year in the making. Music is submitted early and fireworks are ordered at least a year ahead of time. A pyrotechnic choreographer puts the show together.
Days before the festival, the fireworks are hauled to Celebration Park. The shells are placed in plastic tubes located in oversized wood boxes filled with sand. The shells are wired to a control board the day of the show and numbered according to the choreographer's desired order. The show begins when an electrical current is sent to the first firework, beginning an upward propulsion that ends in a burst of color. Onlookers get to watch the spectacle from the park's lawn area.
"You're literally sitting and looking straight up at it," Nelson said. "That's the coolest thing."
The show is free. Event parking will be offered for a fee beginning at 5:30 p.m. On-site parking is $7 and off-site parking costs $5. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome, but barbecue grills, fires, tents and canopies will not be permitted.
The Red, White and Blues Festival is sponsored by Waste Management.
For more information about the Fourth of July event, visit www.cityoffederalway.com or call (253) 835-6900. See the June 30 edition of The Mirror for a map of the festival's attractions.
Check it out
Following is a the festival's schedule.
6 p.m.: Emcee Roberto the Magnificent, Charles White Band
7:05 p.m.: Flag presentation
7:15 p.m.: Elected officials introduced
7:30 p.m.: Country Rock Association
8:35 p.m.: Local heroes introduced
8:45 p.m.: Hot dog eating contest
9 p.m.: Cherry Cherry
6 p.m.: Hot dog eating and arm wrestling contests sign ups
6:30 p.m.: Federal Way's Show Stoppers
7:30 p.m.: Arm wrestling competition
6 p.m.: Visual arts and activities areas open
6 -9 p.m.: Family games and activities
6-9 p.m.: Interactive sports and games