Once again the Crescenta Valley Fireworks Association is preparing for a grand Fourth of July celebration.
A meeting with members of the association was held this week at the location of the event, La Crescenta Elementary School.
“This is a 100% volunteer community based event,” said Chris Waldheim, president of the association.
The event for patrons begins at 4 p.m. in the 2800 block of Prospect Avenue when the neighborhood street is closed down and the gates of the school open. The street and school yard will transform into a patriotic carnival with a giant slide on Prospect Avenue and music filling the air as will the smell of the famous Kiwanis hamburgers. People bring their blankets and lawn chairs and sit up for the event’s real show stopper – the Fourth of July fireworks.
Well before the first hamburger is grilled and the fireworks begin, numerous volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this year’s event better than the year before.
At Tuesday’s association meeting the last few details were worked out.
“The stage will be here and Leslie [Lesh] will be in charge of the entertainment and the sound system,” explained Steve Pierce, association member, as he pointed to a map of the area. “And [Crescenta Valley] Arson Watch will be positioned here.”
Pierce ran through the other areas, like food booth placements and safety concerns with CV Sheriff and California Highway Patrol, whose members also volunteer.
As the association worked out the location logistics Robert “Hutch” Hutchins was getting ready for the big show.
“Forever” was the response from Hutch when asked how long he has been a pyrotechnic expert.
In actuality Hutch has been in the special effects business for about 30 years and has an impressive résumé that includes work on films like “Alien Resurrection” and “Apollo 13.”
For the last 10 years he has been the fireworks master at the controls.
“The really cool thing is to hear the audience respond,” he said.
Doing the CV Fireworks show is a special event to Hutch because he grew up in La Crescenta and attended Crescenta Valley High School.
“To me it’s home. It is nice to be back at my old high school,” he added.
And what student hasn’t dreamed of setting fireworks off over their old alma mater?
The CV Fireworks show has become a tradition but without some enterprising and selfless community members the show would have ended. In 2007 there was no fireworks show. For years the event had been held on the CVHS field but after a new track and field was purchased it was no longer possible. That is when a group of community members met to do something about it. The association was formed and the next year fireworks filled the sky once again. Community members can attend the event for only $5 per ticket.
“Because we have so much volunteer support and donations from the community we are able to keep the ticket prices reasonable,” said Waldheim.
However, ticket sales have been less this year than in the past. Waldheim and members of the association urge residents to help support the event.
Many people watch the show from their backyards, along La Crescenta Avenue and the parking lot of OSH. Their donations are particularly sought.
“If people don’t want to come here, Pacific Outdoor Living is having their annual Fourth of July party. They will have hot dogs and you can see the fireworks from their business,” Waldheim added.
Everyone is invited to join in the Fourth of July celebration. There is handicap parking in the small upper parking lot at the high school on Glenwood Avenue. More parking will be available at the CVHS overflow on the west side of Ramsdell Avenue just north of Community Avenue.
Everyone attending should bring a blanket or lawn chair. Coolers are allowed but are subject to a search. No alcohol or glass bottles are allowed.
Tickets are available at local businesses. For a list visit www.cvfireworks.com. Donations can also be made at the website. Tickets will also be available on the day of the event at the corner of Prospect and La Crescenta avenues on July 4 beginning at noon.