“I said that last year, too,” Lantis said of his promise, just before asking the crowd at Wednesday’s press conference to “hold him to it.”
Lantis announced some of the preliminary plans for the 10th annual Sparks Fourth of July festivities just weeks after the city of Reno announced it would be canceling all of its fireworks shows this year.
According to city of Reno spokeswoman Terri Hendry, downtown Reno will be canceling its fireworks show to make way for a larger show at the new Aces baseball stadium on Evans Street. The annual show at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park on Sierra Street has been canceled as well due to lack of sponsorship funds.
“I am going to make it so unusual that people don’t need to go anywhere else,” Lantis said of the Sparks pyrotechnics display.
The 20-minute fireworks show should include fireworks that look like rain falling from above John Ascuaga’s Nugget as well as exploding heart and star shapes lighting up the summer sky.
The more than $100,000 show generally attracts more than 40,000 people, according to Beth Cooney, a spokeswoman for John Ascuaga’s Nugget, which produces the event.
However, because Cooney is expecting the usual crowd from Reno to come to Sparks, she is estimating that the event will top 40,000 this year.
To stem the downtown influx, Cooney said the Boys and Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows will be running a shuttle between events at the Sparks Marina, the Nugget and the newly opened Legends retail center. The shuttle will run from 8 a.m. until midnight.
The Nugget will also shuttle eventgoers from Reed High School to Victorian Square starting at 4 p.m. on July 4.
To address the potentially larger crowds, Sparks Fire Department Division Chief Bill Finley said that the firefighters on duty would most likely be “strategically arranged.”
Finley said that in years past, the department would simply move various engines on duty closer to the action. They will also add one additional brush truck to their staff of about 29 firefighters.
Event activities will be scattered from the marina to Legends to Victorian Square. The day will kick off at the marina at 6 a.m. with free tethered hot air balloon rides and a pancake breakfast by the Kiwanis Club.
A fun run and walk will get underway at 8 a.m. followed by the Model Dairy milk carton boat regatta at 9 a.m.
Then, at 11 a.m., the reinvented Sparks Idol will get underway, debuting as the renamed “Sparks’ Got Talent.”
Events at Victorian Square will start at 4 p.m. with bands, vendors and kids carnival rides filling the square. Then, a group of C1-40 Hercules fighter jets will fly over at about 8:30 p.m. to the sounds of the Lorentzen family singers performing the national anthem.
Weather permitting, the fireworks will light up at 9:45 p.m., rocketing from the Nugget’s two towers as well as the Union Pacific train yard, which sits just south of Interstate 80 in Sparks.
Local vendors in Victorian Square are scheduled to include: Sippin’ Good, BJ’s Barbeque, Goodi’s Lemonade, JB’s Hot Dog’s, Los Compadres, Hillbilly Kettle Korn, Sierra Swirl Ice Cream, Evergood Sausage Company, The Legends at Sparks Marina, A&W Restaurant and Girly Girl USA.