Have fun celebrating Fourth of July

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The Fourth of July — the celebration of America’s independence — is a wonderful holiday.

It’s a time for family and friends to gather at homes or in public places to socialize, eat and have fun.

But the Fourth can also be loud and dangerous. Fireworks play a significant role in the traditional celebration of Independence Day.

It’s important to know what fireworks are and are not legal. The rules on the discharging of fireworks are strict in the city of Walla Walla.

Pretty much everything that goes boom — or even bang, crack or pop — is forbidden to be used within the city limits. Any fireworks purchased outside the city limits are not allowed. The city code also specifically prohibits fireworks that travel more than 20 feet off the ground, travel more than 15 feet along the ground or are specifically designed to produce noise.

The rules are more liberal in the county and College Place. The high-flying stuff is OK to be sold and used in those areas.

Since it’s sizzle that sells, it is no accident the majority of fireworks stands are outside of Walla Walla. And, given the bulk of fireworks are purchased just outside the city, it is a reasonable assumption (backed up by years and years of anecdotal evidence) that a lot of illegal fireworks will be used in Walla Walla on July 4.

Law enforcement officers do what they can to keep abuse of the law to a minimum, but it is simply impossible for officers to respond to every call in a matter of minutes.

So, please, be considerate of your neighbors. Don’t use the more dangerous, high-flying items inside the city (but if you do, keep it to a minimum and use extreme caution). And when using legal fireworks such as fountains, don’t do it all night — and clean up your mess.

Another option (full disclosure, the U-B sponsors these events) is to spend the day at Pioneer Park. Fourth of July in the Park features entertainment all-day long and vendors are selling food and beverages as well as a variety of clothing, jewelry and many other goods. When it gets dark look toward Walla Walla Community College for a fireworks display.

While many communities around the nation have dropped their fireworks shows, usually for financial reasons, a professional display continues here. In addition, the Walla Walla Sweets are hosting a fireworks display at Borleske Stadium following the team’s July 3 game.

Whatever you choose to do on Independence Day, have fun and be safe.

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