Folks will flock to Whitefish City Beach Thursday, July 4 for the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show.
The fireworks, presented by the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, will start at approximately 10:30 p.m. and will last about 30 minutes.
Chamber of Commerce executive director Kevin Gartland said the fireworks this year saw a strong fundraising effort, bringing in over $20,000 for the show.
“We’ve had a great response to our fundraising campaign this year. We don’t get a nickel of government or tax money so we raise it all from business folks and from a group of anonymous donors who really have pulled through this year,” Gartland said.
The fireworks themselves should be a little quieter this year too.
Gartland said at the city’s request, the show this year will use less percussion fireworks that create the loud booms that echo across the lake.
“We’ve gone with something that doesn’t make as much noise and hopefully is just as spectacular,” he said.
While the forecast for Thursday is showing some potential precipitation, Gartland said the plan is to do everything possible to make the fireworks show happen.
“The plan is to go forward with the show and if it’s not raining at 10:30 at night then we’ll do it,” he said.
“You don’t postpone things like this,” he added with a laugh. “You don’t postpone Christmas, you don’t postpone the Fourth of July.”
Also happening at City Beach is the second annual Fourth of July Boat Parade, which is hosted by Whitefish Marine and Powersports and starts at 9 p.m.
Parade participants will gather in the cove off Whitefish Lake State Park beginning at 8:30 p.m. to line-up, then begin the first of two loops along the eastern shoreline of Whitefish Lake passing by the Whitefish River outlet, City Beach, the Bay Point area, the Lodge at Whitefish Lake and Monk’s Bay before heading back to do it all again.
People are encouraged to walk or bike to the beach. Skye Park Bridge is a good way to walk to the beach. The Chamber of Commerce is offering a shuttle, compliments of Eagle Transit, from the O’Shaughnessy Center to City Beach between 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“The parking is pretty impacted, so folks need to know that if you don’t get out there real early, you won’t get a parking spot nearby, so it’s a walk-to thing or take the shuttles. It’s a nice easy walk from downtown.”
No dogs are allowed at City Beach in both the beach and park areas. No personal fireworks, alcohol or glass containers are allowed.
The main City Beach parking lot will be closed to allow vendors to set up for the day.
Those hoping to have their own fireworks show should be aware of the city’s ordinances.
Personal fireworks can be used in Whitefish between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on July 3 and 4. Fines for violating the city ordinance are $300 for the first offense and $500 or imprisonment not exceeding six months for subsequent offenses.
Fireworks can only be used on private property and are not allowed in any Flathead County parks and are prohibited on state and federal land.
The Flathead County Animal Shelter also issued a reminder to pet owners to take precautions to keep their pets safe over the Fourth of July holiday.
Please remember to make sure pets have collars, with ID tags, as pets can be panicked, run away and become disoriented and lost. Placing pets, in a room, where the curtains are drawn with music, white noise or the TV/radio playing can help muffle the noise of fireworks, the shelter notes. Some pets can benefit from medication, prescribed by a veterinarian, to help manage panic and fear.
Also this weekend, the 40th annual Whitefish Arts Festical is being held in Depot Park downtown on July 5, 6 and 7. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.