By Kathleen Ellyn
Wallowa County Chieftain
Although Memorial Day has yet to arrive, many in Wallowa County have begun contemplating Independence Day.
The “Shake the Lake” fireworks show is run on donations, which are raised by the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce. The tab for the show comes to around $12,000, and locals manage to raise that year after year because “the show is for everybody,” said Vicki Searle, director of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce Lawson of Homeland Fireworks in John Day has produced the fireworks show for for a number of years and enjoys his annual visit.
“For a display company and operator, Wallowa Lake, with the mountains there, with the shells going off –– the acoustics are just incredible,” Lawson said. “Out of all the displays in three states, I’ve never heard acoustics like that. We can break a shell and it will continue to crack three or four times with echo. I like that.”
The display is 16 minutes of nonstop oohs and aahs.
“We will lift over a ton of shells, and that takes about 1,300 to 1,400 pounds of explosives,” Lawson said. “We will have some of our very best effects including new ones made this year for the event.”
The show starts on July 4 at dusk. Lawson says one of his favorite memories from the Wallowa Lake event was the year that one of his technicians, who had a good voice, was so moved by the event that he spontaneously began singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the fireworks launching barge.
“He did a really good job, and all the spectators gave him a standing ovation,” Lawson recalled. “My guys came back pretty tickled about that. Everybody we have sent up to shoot the Wallowa Lake display has had a good time.”
MAKE YOUR DONATION
To be a part of sponsoring “Shake the Lake,” send a donations of $25, 50 or 100 to the Wallowa County Chamber, P.O. Box 427, Enterprise, OR 97828. All donations of $25 and greater are entered into a drawing to win a special prize.