For decades, Delta Volunteer Fire Department (DVFD) has planned an annual July 4 fireworks show. Before being held at Confluence Park, many may recall seeing the display at Cleland Park.
Those watching this past July 4 may have noticed that firemen pulled out a few extra tricks. For example, volunteer firefighters Bobby Esplin and Ken Decker shot fireworks off from the island for the first time. Some of the fireworks were designed to interact with the water.
The electronic system used for firing a majority of the shells, including the grand finale, was recently upgraded from the 20-year-old system. "Our new setup allows us to do better and cooler things," said fire chief Bryce Atchley.
District manager Shannon Crespin said the DVFD aims to keep the show at about 30 minutes. This year, more than 350 shells were fired, not including the 10 cake boxes. Fireman Robert Winkler designs the sequences each year, placing emphasis on the openers and finale.
The fireworks show is funded entirely by donations raised by firemen during the month of June.
Volunteers spent five days last month gathering contributions from ACE Hardware, Maverik, Walmart and City Market. The night of the show, volunteers gathered donations at the gate.
Putting on a show like this each year takes hours of setup and cleanup. Volunteers start early the morning of the show, setting up the barricades for gates and the electrical fireworks. In the evening they finish digging trenches for steel tubes that hold manual fires. After the show, cleanup takes another couple of hours.
Crespin said some people have expressed concern over the fireworks show, particularly during dry years. Shooting them off over the lake provides the main precautionary measure. Trucks brought in from neighboring departments monitor around the lake for maximum safety. "We have a great support staff," said Crespin.
Currently the DVFD has 26 volunteers and one paid staff member. Many expressed that the involvement in the fireworks show is one of the great perks that comes with serving on the department.
"We love providing something for our county," said Crespin. "This is one of those big events everyone looks forward to during the year. This is our way of saying 'thanks for supporting us.'"