A fireworks show with new 'twists and tweaks'

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta's Tom Haistings has been heading up the Chamber's fireworks committee, coordinating fundraising, planning the show and readying the launch site for 10 years now. Though it's a lot of work, Haistings believes the fireworks display is an important part of Mount Shasta's July 4 celebration.

Every year in Mount Shasta, the traditional July 4 fireworks display is a much anticipated event. Locals and out-of-towners alike flock to the Mount Shasta Resort, Lake Siskiyou Campground and other favorite spots to see the show that begins just after dark.

For the past 10 years, Mount Shasta’s Tom Haistings has been heading up the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce fireworks committee. He also coordinates the fundraising, plans the show, readies the launch site.

Haistings, together with fellow pyrotechnic operator Reece Miller, will direct a crew of more than a dozen volunteers who will help fire off the show.

Though the 20 minute spectacle takes dozens of hours of preparation each year, Haistings continues to take on the work because he believes fireworks are an important part of the community’s July 4 celebration.

Haistings, who’s a locomotive engineer for Union Pacific Railroad, as well as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for the Mount Shasta Fire Protection District and the assistant patrol director for the Mount Shasta Volunteer Ski Patrol, said the patriotic show is also important to him because his daughter, son and niece are all in the military and recently returned from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This year’s show

The annual fireworks show is ultimately shaped by the amount of money the committee raises during the year. Though fundraising has been tougher than ever, Haistings said he’s scraped together a show that will be just as good – or better – than last year’s show, which featured a long and spectacular grand finale.

Every year, he “twists and tweaks” the show to be a little different than the year before, Haistings said. This year, look for big smily face fireworks as well as other fun patterns shooting across the night sky.

Safety and regulations

Haistings has an 18 condition use permit to conduct the fireworks show. This year things were made a bit more complicated by the completion of the Wagon Creek Bridge that spans the lake and the walking trail, Haistings explained.

Each year, North Shore Road is completely blocked to all traffic on July 4 from 6 a.m. until midnight. Nothing will change this year, and Haistings asks that pedestrians respect the closure, as well.

“People can walk the bridge and use the trail, but we ask that they don’t walk to North Shore for safety reasons,” Haistings said. “The Sheriff’s Department will be enforcing the closure.”

Places to watch

Haistings estimates that as many as 10,000 people watch the fireworks show from vantage points all around town.

“The best seat in the house is on a boat floating on Lake Siskiyou,” he said. “The fireworks are close, right overhead.”

This year, Haistings is asking for a $10 donation to launch boats on the lake. Every cent will go back to the committee to help offset the cost of insurance required to allow boats on the lake.

The second best place is on the Lake Siskiyou Campground’s beach, where about 2,500 people station themselves in the sand for the show.

About 4,000 people are expected to flock to the Mount Shasta Resort to lounge on the green for their annual Customer Appreciation Day. Admission is $2, all of which goes directly back to the fireworks fund. No coolers, pets, or personal fireworks are allowed at the Resort.

Providing musical entertainment this year will be The Billies, “a great group out of Redding,” Haistings said.

The Wayside Grill is also a traditional favorite place to hunker down for the show.

If you’re looking for a quieter, more intimate setting, look no further than the interior of your own car. There are many places to park along South Mt. Shasta Boulevard or on the old Roseburg Property at the south end of town where you can see most of the larger fireworks.

This year, Haistings is planning to shoot 932 shells in the air, ranging from two and a half inches to six inches in size. They will be shot at several different altitudes, from 150 feet to 600 feet up in attempt to ensure a great show for everyone watching, no matter how far away."

“We’ll try and fill the sky and always have at least two shells in the air,” Haistings said.

Sponsors and how to donate

Major sponsors donating at least $500 to the show (and usually a lot more) include the Lake Siskiyou Campground, the Mount Shasta Resort, Wonderland Distributing, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, the Mount Shasta Elks, Pacificorp, Cross Petroleum, Mount Shasta Spirit, Jon Thomas Fine Jewelry, John Smith Sanitation, Ray Mac Mechanical, Mountain Runners, Souza Ready Mix and Mount Shasta Ambulance.

To donate to the fireworks fund, drop boxes can be found at the Lake Siskiyou Campground and the Mount Shasta Spirit gas station. You can also stop by the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce or visit the website www.mtshastafireworks.com

The annual fireworks show over Lake Siskiyou is a much anticipated part of Mount Shasta's July 4 celebration. This year's show promises to be as good - or better - than last years said show organizer Tom Haistings.