A big fireworks show is set for the nation’s birthday party in Haines this weekend, enhanced to mark the 100th anniversary of municipal incorporation.
Traditional Fourth of July activities – plus a few new ones – will be spread over Saturday and Sunday to avoid a conflict between God and country.
The Mount Ripinsky Run, usually a morning activity on Independence Day, has been pushed forward to Saturday, July 3, along with the Mad Raft race. They start at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. Some other events, including the parade, will be held in the afternoon Sunday, July 4, to accommodate for church services.
See the full schedule in the newspaper centerfold.
"People may have to pick and choose events, especially if they want to enter them. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to work, but we tried to get everything at Tlingit Park so people don’t have to run here and there," said Chamber of Commerce manager Joan Carlson.
The fireworks should look spectacular for two reasons: There will be twice as many and they will be a lot closer – shot from the Port Chilkoot Dock instead of from Picture Point.
Pyrotechnician Phillip Wilde said said he’ll use three locations on the dock as launch sites, and the best, wide-angle views may be from the Fort Seward parade grounds. The dock will be closed to the public. "I’d definitely get you a picnic basket and a blankey," Wilde said.
To mark the centennial of the town’s incorporation, the Haines Borough doubled its annual allocation for fireworks, and the Chamber collected about $1,800 in donations for a bigger blast, Carlson said. "People are still donating," she said early this week.
The American Legion Color Guard that will march in Sunday’s parade will include veterans from each of the nation’s recent conflicts, said member Mike Case. Tom Quinlan, Case, Bob Lix and Rob Martin will represent World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, Case said.
"It’s to make sure everybody knows Haines has veterans from all these conflicts," Case said.
Haines Borough Mayor Jan Hill said she hoped for twice as many floats in the parade, but numbers were hard to determine this week. Parade organizer Lee Heinmiller said this week that Haines parades tend to be hit and miss.
"One year for the fair parade, I’d heard from nine people, then 81 showed up. I quit worrying (about turnout) years ago."
A wet course for the run up Mount Ripinsky could speed up the race. A thin layer of detritus and spruce needles on steep slopes there becomes slick in dry weather. Wet weather tends to hold it in place, making for surer footing, organizers said this week.
The title to the round-trip race from downtown to 1,200 feet on the mountain is up for grabs, as reigning champion and record-holder Chandler Kemp of Haines is back at college this summer.
Hammer Museum founder Dave Pahl, who resurrected the holiday’s nail-pounding contest two years ago, said he’ll be looking for a harder piece of wood for the contest driving six-inch railroad spikes. Competitors use a 10-pound hammer with a head nearly the same diameter as the spike.
"Last year’s was a little too soft. We’ve got to make it a little harder," Pahl said. There are also men’s, women’s and children’s competitions driving 20-penny nails. "There’s something for everybody" and gift certificates to local hardware stores as prizes.
Face-painting, balloon twisting and children’s games will be new this year at Tlingit Park, sponsored by museum staff and volunteers. "We decided because it was the 100th anniversary and a big, special thing, we wanted to be involved," said curator Jerrie Clarke.