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Fireworks organizer says high lights were a highlight

First-time fireworks 'drive-in' idea draws a crowd

Dave Phillips watched the Family Day fireworks show in Lac La Biche with his two-year-old granddaughter and his 92-year-old mother. The range between the two ages was filled by hundreds of other area residents who lined the lakeshore and on-ice parking areas to see the February 15 show.

Phillips, the Lac La Biche and District Chamber of Commerce president, was the main organizer behind the show that set off a 15-minute display from a launch site 300 metres from the shoreline on the frozen surface of the community’s namesake water body.

Billed as a drive-in style event where residents watched the show from inside parked vehicles to keep with COVID-19 pandemic protocols, the loud sounds and the spectacular explosion of colour took over the Lac La Biche County. Even with the cold temperatures, cars were parked all along the shoreline of the lake’s southeastern bay so people could catch a glimpse of the fireworks show.

There were so many people that traffic was jammed along Main Street for longer than the actual show had lasted.  

Phillips was pleased to see the big turnout. He told Lakeland This Week that he had an idea there would be a big response since pandemic concerns have cancelled so many events over the last year.

“We had events cancelled one after the other. With the fireworks, we could keep everybody isolated and happy,” he said, explaining that volunteers, municipal leaders and staff and area businesses all came together to make the night happen.

“It was a dream event to put together. It was easy to plan, you’d make phone calls and leave messages and it would seem like you’d get an immediate response, and the answer was virtually always yes,” said Phillips.

Health inspectors, peace officers, council members, and Big Bang Fireworks, who have put on fireworks shows all over the world, all came together to make the event happen. 

The show was funded by Lac La Biche County using some left-over funds from the 2020 Canada Day fireworks show that was booked but cancelled due to gathering restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Help all around

The Monday night show began with a ‘pre-show’ fireworks display from half a dozen lakeside residents who launched a series of their own, store-bought fireworks that sparkled around the bay leading to the main event.

Overall, the first-time attraction went pretty well, Phillips said.

The honks of horns from and flashing headlights from vehicles after the show told him that people appreciated the efforts. And closer to home, the smiles reflected on his mom and granddaughter’s faces as they watched the show told the story as well.

“The fireworks show was without a doubt one of the highlights of my year,” he said.