On Thursday, fireworks in Riverfront Park are expected to be set off in quick succession. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)
Visitors to Riverfront Park on the evening of the Fourth of July should expect a great show with lots of fireworks busting in quick succession.
Heather Gobet, owner of Western Display Fireworks, said the Canby-based company does hundreds of fireworks shows all over the Northwest, like Seattle’s Lake Union show.
At some of the larger shows, spectators are thousands of feet away, but in Salem it’s just a few hundred, Gobet said.
She said the nice thing about Riverfront Park “is that yes, we are limited in shell size, but what that translates to is a lot of intensity.”
Instead of a few big shells every few minutes, there are multiple smaller shells in quick succession.
“For people right there in the park it makes for a wonderful experience and a very intense show,” Gobet said.
The show starts at 10 p.m. and is expected to last between 20 to 25 minutes.
Every year, Gobet said she looks at displays and makes sure each one has a different look and feel.
She said the 71-year-old company goes a traditional route for the Fourth with a red, white and blue finale.
The fireworks are ordered nearly a year in advance. Salem spent $15,000 on this year’s display, according to Salem recreation supervisor Becky George.
George said the city took over the fireworks show several years ago and while it’s been quite the ordeal, “It’s kind of a fun thing to be able to offer that for the state’s capital city.”
She said the fireworks are angled out over the river from their launching point on the dock.
“It’s the biggest show we can have with that close proximity,” George said. “If you’re in Riverfront Park they’ll practically be almost over your head within safety distance.”
At the same time, CherryFest NW will be taking place in the park, with food, drinks and live music. Admission to the festival is free on July 4.
George recommended getting to the park early.
“If you have the ability to, I’d say try to get down there by 8:30 so you can find a good spot to view,” George said. “Whether you’re sitting at a table or sitting on the ground, it should be a great evening just to kind of sit.”
She said the best view is usually in the large meadow next to the carousel.
And expect crowds. The city usually averages between 8,000 to 10,000 people at Riverfront Park during the show and another 1,500 at Wallace Marine Park.
Have an event coming up? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.
LOCAL NEWS AND A LOCAL SUBSCRIPTION -- For $10 a month, Salem Reporter provides breaking news alerts, emailed newsletters and around-the-clock access to our stories. We depend on subscribers to pay for in-depth, accurate news. Help us grow and get better by subscribing today. Sign up HERE.