By Irene Luck – August 2021
Celebrating the Fourth of July holiday this year was about more than just our independence from England, it was about reemerging from over a year of isolation and restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Lake Anna Civic Association’s fireworks show on Saturday, July 3 brought out more spectators than in the past few years as more boats gathered around the viewing area on both sides of Dike II according to reports from those patrolling the area.
It was also one of the best years financially as contributions exceeded our $30,000 goal by nearly 23%. Over 550 donations from individuals, property owner associations, and businesses were received with nearly 200 of them at the $100 or above level giving the fund a total of $36,815 in contributions.
The annual fireworks show is funded entirely with contributions from the community and relies on the current year’s donations to pay for the next year’s show. The 2021 donations will determine the scope of the shoot for 2022 as the payments for the pyrotechnics are due prior to soliciting funds each year.
Mike May and Craig DiSesa chair the fireworks committee and have a cadre of committed volunteers who assist in staging the show. But, unlike an individual homeowner who purchases fireworks and then shoots them off for family and friends, there is an extensive amount of planning and coordinating that goes into the LACA shoot.
May and DiSesa meet with Louisa County law enforcement and fire and EMS officials and Dominion Energy representatives to establish a safety plan and determine who will be on stand-by on Dike II in case of an emergency. They must also receive approval from Dominion Energy to use the Dike as the base of operations. The pair also coordinate with Zambelli International on the show itself – the types and sizes of fireworks, the number and size of canisters necessary to hold the pyrotechnics and other details. May also arranges for the solicitation letters to be prepared and mailed each year.
But the real work begins early on the day of the shoot. Because of the number of canisters that need to be prepared, a determination must be made by noon on whether the show will go on. The committee looks at the weather conditions and decides if the show can be staged. In LACA’s nearly 30 years of hosting the fireworks show, it has only been postponed until the next Saturday one year. A couple of years the show was late starting because of thunderstorms, but it did go off.
Once the decision is made, a group of volunteers led by Ken Sadel begin the long, hot process of arranging the canisters for the shoot and then pack each individual one with the materials necessary for the desired effect. Each canister is also wired for ignition in the order of the shoot – kind of like setting up dominoes so they fall in the pattern you want. After all the tubes are arranged and filled, the team waits on the Dike until dark for showtime. And, at the end, they must pick up all the debris, retrieve the canisters which are used from year to year and make sure all sparks are out before they can then head home for some rest.
So, next year, when you are sitting on your boat, or dock if you are close enough, enjoying the beautiful display remember those who have contributed to fund the show and those who have graciously volunteered to give up their holiday Saturday to bring you this spectacular event.
Each year’s show is staged on the Saturday closest to the holiday so next year’s shoot is tentatively planned for Saturday, July 2, 2022. Contributions may be made at any time on our website at www.lakeannavirginia.org and donors are listed each year under the fireworks tab as a thank you for your support.
Irene Luck firstname.lastname@example.org