HAMILTON — Before the Bitterroot turns red, white and blue on July 4, planning goes on behind the scenes to ensure community events go off with a bang.

“We check all of our electronic shooting gear and then we clean the tubes. We clean everything from the years before, clean all the wires. And then we sit down and we call wire, which is we put the wires, the E-matches on the cases,” explained Bubba Riley Fireworks Coordinator.

Riley is tasked with getting 20,000 worth of fireworks ready for launch. “This is 20,000 for the city show this year,” he said as he showed off rows of fireworks.

Ravalli fireworks

Emily Brown/MTN News

Fireworks ready for 4th of July celebration in Hamilton

Preparations for the Fourth of July in Hamilton require a lot of hands-on work, and not just for fireworks teams.

“We are the venue for them,” said Ravalli County Fairgrounds Manager Melissa Saville. “So we have to make sure they have everything they need so they can have the best fireworks show ever.”

The Ravalli County Fairgrounds staff is busy preparing the grounds for one of the biggest parties of the year.

“I feel really proud that our community is coming together. The fair staff is setting up picnic tables, trash cans, making sure the restrooms are stocked and clean, because we know this is an event that can draw a few thousand people,” Saville said.

Once the grand finale is over, the city of Hamilton is already looking ahead to next year.

“I know the mayor is already preparing for the year ahead and saving money by working with a buyer, their contractor, things like that, to make sure they can plan ahead,” Saville noted.

But it’s not just Hamilton that’s putting on a big show in the sky. The Florence Volunteer Fire Department is doing it too.
“We start all of our, all of our planning about two, three months in advance contacting different business owners for donations. You know, the more money we can raise, the more it offsets the cost and then we can have a bigger fireworks show,” shared Peter Metzger, assistant chief of the Florence Volunteer Fire Department.

Normally, you wouldn’t think of a fire department setting off fireworks, but they actually do it for safety. Metzger said they don’t have to call as often when there are more people at their event. “Getting everyone together has helped with fire prevention,” he said.

Moreover, they want to entertain the entire city with an evening of fun.

“That’s something that we really enjoy, especially because Florence, you know, is kind of a smaller town. And so having that feeling of a smaller hometown community and everyone coming together and just having fun and enjoying themselves. It’s refreshing,” Metzger shared.

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