Bringing Back a Fizzled-Out Fireworks Tradition

Fourth of July without fireworks is like having Christmas without a tree. It’s an important ingredient in the mix of festivities that – like Christmas trees – has become part of the holiday tradition itself. That’s why Kailua has been trying to bring back the community’s 65-year ritual of having a Fourth of July fireworks show on the bay.

Lack of funding forced the windward Oahu community to stray from tradition for the past few years. They usually kick off Independence Day with a parade and a fireworks display. Recently, it’s just been the parade. The show alone costs about $70,000 and pays for the fireworks, signage, road blocks and off-duty police officers.

I remember going to the Independence Day fireworks show as a kid. We’d lug our coolers and chairs to Kailua Beach every year, squeezing in between beach mats and people who were there from the early morning. Others would roll up on their cruiser bikes and skateboards. Some even hiked to the top of the Kailua Pillboxes – where they got a panoramic view of the bay, as it lit up beneath the colorful sky. It always seemed like the entire windward community showed up for the party, which is what I miss the most.

The lack of fireworks seems to have really put a damper on the community. Thankfully, a newly-established nonprofit called Kailua Fireworks has come to the rescue. They’ve been busy trying to raise monies for the fireworks show, approaching residents and local businesses for donations. In fact, the nonprofit consists of business owners – mostly from the windward Oahu side – who’ve also donated to the cause.

Hopefully their efforts will bring back the fireworks tradition in Kailua that not only lights up the skies but the hearts of those watching as well.


Photo Courtesy: Kailua Fireworks

Posted by: Bruce Fisher