Los Banos fireworks show lights up the night

dwitte@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 11, 2014 

The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce’s 17th-annual annual fireworks show filled the sky over Pacheco High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium with noise and light on July 4.

While chamber executive director Bertha Faria saw less of the show than she’d hoped, chamber president Geneva Brett saw more fireworks than she expected. Faria was stuck manning the chamber’s fireworks booth while the show was going on.

“I was waiting for our pickup guy to get there (to pick up unsold fireworks). I was at the booth until midnight,” Faria said. “But I understand it was really, really fantastic. I saw a couple of them go off. Unfortunately, the fruits of my labor I didn’t get to witness.”

The event, organized by chamber member Cassandra Helmrick, featured bands Cottonwood Creek and Pete Kelso. The whole shebang cost $23,000 to put on, and the chamber staff is still adding up its numbers from its fireworks booth to see if it covered its costs.

“The booth is a lot of work. The city ordinance allows seven booths in the city,” Brett said. “The chamber gets one of those booths every year, with the caveat that whatever we earn goes to the fireworks show.”

Faria said she would have a better idea of the event’s finances by the next board of directors meeting on July 23, but she said things were slow at the booth up until July 4, when it got swamped.

“There was a fair amount of people who said they came to the chamber booth to pay for the fireworks show,” Brett said. “That was very rewarding that they understood and came to support the chamber.”

The show, put on by Pyro Spectacular, was a manual show – meaning that instead of the mortars going off by a timed computer program, Scott Boydstun of Ivanhoe and his assistants lit the fuses manually . One of those assistants was Brett.

“It was a great show. People were really excited. It was just a really wonderful show,” Brett said. “I was particularly excited because I got to light some of the fireworks there on the ground.”

Earlier in the week, the Pyro Spectacular staff had asked Faria for a volunteer. But with Faria and much of the rest of the chamber staff working 12-hour days at the organization’s fireworks booth to raise funds for the event, she forgot about it until the last minute.

“I kind of lost track of time, and Geneva happened to be helping at the booth,” Faria said. “... so I volunteered her. That kind of made my day – at least I was able to have that impact.”

The chamber held a raffle to decide who pushed the plunger to start the show. That honor went to Frances Zimmerman of Los Banos.

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