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Grand Finale

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By Marie Havenga

mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com

 

If you’re looking for a true blast, the Coast Guard Festival fireworks have a rocking reputation as some of the best around.

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Slated as the festival finale, the fireworks blast off from Dewey Hill directly across the river from Waterfront Stadium.

 

This year’s $34,000 show will skyrocket for close to 20 minutes, according to organizer Roger Jonas, who selects all the music and plans the extravaganza, which features pyrotechnics choreographed to music.

 

Waterfront Stadium is showplace central for the show, which will shoot off more than 4,000 shells that will illuminate the sky, ground level and water.

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Tickets for a stadium seat are $20 and include an 8 p.m. performance by The Company Men. Fireworks will immediately follow the Musical Fountain performance at dusk.

 

Besides stadium seating, other prime viewing spots include the grassy areas along the Waterfront and Harbor Drive. Harbor Drive is shut down to traffic at 7 p.m. and spectators are welcome to set up lawn chairs in the street.

 

The Tri-Cities YMCA parking lot also provides a lofty viewing perch with Coast Guard ships in the foreground and fireworks in the background.

 

Jonas suggests grabbing a spot where you can see the low-level fireworks that blast off from the beach.

 

“One of the neat things about our venue is we have a nice river in between,” Jonas said. “We have the low level off the beach and the other off the fountain area. We have depth because of the two different elevations. This makes it really unique.”

 

Charter boats are also available for hire for visitors who want to view the sky show from the water. But whether you watch by land or by sea, Jonas encourages close proximity.

 

“You can feel the concussion and smell the gunpowder,” Jonas said. “In my opinion, that’s the way to watch fireworks.”