Fireworks organizers pleased with visibility from new location after test run

Published 10:25 am Friday, April 26, 2024

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Organizers of the Fourth of July fireworks said they thought the test fireworks from the new location west of the Blazing Star Landing went well Thursday night with good visibility reported from many different locations around both Fountain and Albert Lea lakes and downtown.

Shari Sprague, executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, which fundraises for the fireworks, said volunteers gathered photos and video from several locations to advise residents where the best locations will be to watch the display on the Fourth.

The fireworks are being moved from the city beach to a new location this year on city property west of the Blazing Star Landing between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes to bring the display into safety compliance with state code.

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“The visual radius is probably the same, but different, and it reaches more houses,” Sprague said.

She said she heard positive comments from people who viewed the brief display from Katherine Island, on top of the Freeborn National Bank Building and at the parking lot of St. Theodore Catholic Church, among others. One person who lives on Park Avenue reported good visibility from their front yard and one person said the fireworks were in perfect view on William Street from Broadway down to Main Street.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske said there were some spots he did not think would work out but found out they actually will work well, such as Fountain Lake Park.

On the Albert Lea Lake side, people could be seen lined up in vehicles along Front Street near Albert Lea Lake ahead of the test, and good reports came on social media from near the city pool and even out of town southeast of Clarks Grove and in Glenville.

“I feel like anywhere in-between those two lakes will be a good place,” Sprague said. “There are going to be many, many places to view.”

She said fireworks vendor, Curt Serbus of Flashing Thunder Fireworks, relayed how much better he thought the location was than at city beach and that because of the better clearance around the area where the fireworks will be detonated, they will be able to shoot up bigger and better fireworks.

She noted he did not charge for the test run Thursday.

The planning committee will meet in two to three weeks to talk about which roads to close for people to utilize during the event, after which there will be much more information to provide to the public.

Sprague said she was also happy to hear a report from the Freeborn County Humane Society that while you could hear the fireworks from outside of the shelter building, the sound was not bad inside and it was better than expected.

The Humane Society posted on its Facebook page that it had several volunteers at the shelter during the test fireworks in every inside area giving out treats and monitoring the reactions from the animals, as well as people outside.

“Although the fireworks were loud outside, the brick building did a good job of insulating our animals from the noise. We had one area that we will need to make changes to for the event, and perhaps a few more volunteers to help make things more comfortable for the animals.”

They said traditional fireworks impact animals throughout the entire month of July, especially when they are lit off unplanned. They hoped in the future they will be able to have some animal friendly options such as soundless fireworks for community celebrations.

Laskowske said he also planned to be in touch with the Humane Society with some things he learned to help them during the Fourth.

The annual Buckets on Broadway for the fireworks will be May 17, at which time volunteers will seek to raise at least $20,000 to pay for the fireworks.

Sprague said the chamber is also supporting the upcoming SBR All American Truck Show with volunteers during the event June 22 and in return the event will be making a donation to the fireworks.