A Winston group has been working to create an Independence Day fireworks show since 2018.
Now, with Roseburg’s show canceled, Winston Area Independence Day-WAID appears poised to have its big moment.
Onikka Nielsen, treasurer for Winston Area Independence Day-WAID, said the group is planning an all-day event for its first ever show. Organizers chose July 3 for the date because it’s a Saturday and because they initially didn’t know whether there would be competing events on July 4.
The Roseburg Hometown 4th of July Fireworks committee announced in April it had canceled its 2021 Roseburg show. The announcement came after the Roseburg City Council refused the group a permit to use Reservoir Hill or the Roseburg Regional Airport. Last year’s show on Reservoir Hill resulted in some small grass fires.
But the Winston show will go on.
Winston Area Independence Day-WAID has raised $15,000 to cover the cost of its fireworks display, Nielsen said.
“We raised the funds through the graciousness of our community,” Nielsen said.
The Winston City Council approved paying $7,500 of the cost, while much of the rest was raised through can collections.
Community members have dropped cans off at Winston’s Now N Then Antique Mall, and then organizers have taken them to BottleDrop. BottleDrop also at times offers 20% matching funds for fundraising can collections and they’ve taken advantage of those, Nielsen said. Other funds were raised by holiday-themed auctions of donated prizes and through business donations.
Jennifer Lucas, the group’s president, said the event will include a parade, food trucks and other vendors and hopefully some live music.
The fun will take place at Riverbend Park in Winston. Plans are for the parade to begin at about 11 a.m. and food trucks to remain through the day. There will be bags of candy for the kids, too, instead of having it thrown out during the parade.
541 Radio will help with the music during the fireworks show, and Jack Holland will be the emcee for the event.
Lucas said the even will follow COVID-19 safety rules, and will include parking for people who prefer to watch the fireworks from their cars.
Even if changing COVID-19 restrictions force alterations to the day’s events, the group anticipates the evening fireworks show will go on and be visible from a wide area around town.
The fireworks will go up from the Winston Middle School track. Lucas said that location should be safe in terms of fire hazards.
Western Display will be in charge of the show and has done fireworks in the same location at other events, such as the annual Melon Festival, in the past, she said.
Lucas said she was shocked when she learned the Roseburg show had been canceled, but she said it creates an exciting opportunity for Winston.
“It gives us a chance to show what we’ve been working on all year, and kind of highlights our little community of Winston here,” she said.
Dione Burkhart, financial secretary for the group, said America is changing at a rapid pace. So she wants to keep old traditions alive any way she can.
“Whatever we can do to represent, No. 1, God, and our country, this is what we’re all about. Amen,” she said.
Tuesday is the last chance to vote in the Special Districts Election, and the deadline is 8 p.m.
Douglas County Clerk Dan Loomis said in an email 13,676 ballots had been received as of Monday, making turnout so far 16.38% of eligible voters. That’s 1.41% ahead of the participation rate at the same point in the 2019 Special Districts Election.
Drop sites around the county will remain open until 8 p.m., with the first unofficial preliminary results expected shortly afterward.
Here are the locations where you can take your ballots:
Three natural cover fires were extinguished Monday, two of which were related to escaped debris burns, as conditions are much drier than normal for this time of year.
Representatives from the Douglas Forest Protective Association said although fire season is not in effect at this time, residents are encouraged not to burn unnecessarily.
“If home or property owners choose to burn debris piles before the start of fire season, they are encouraged to burn earlier in the day before temperatures and wind speeds increase in the afternoon,” DFPA spokesperson Kyle Reed said. “In addition, the debris pile should be surrounded by a fire trail before ignition begins and be monitored by an adult with fire tools and water until the pile has been fully extinguished.”
The largest fire Monday was the Pickett Fence Fire, approximately 3 miles northeast of Tiller, near Pickett Butte. Crews from Douglas Forest Protective Association, Umpqua National Forest, Tiller Rural Fire Department and Milo Rural Fire Department responded to the fire around 1 p.m. when the fire was estimated to be around three-quarters of an acre, burning grass, brush and young trees.
Firefighters stopped the forward spread of the fire at approximately one acre and remained on scene until 9 p.m., mopping up hot spots. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The other two natural cover fires occurred near Grouse Butte Lane, 6 miles southeast of Roseburg, and near Strickland Canyon Road, 5 miles northwest of Winston.
The DFPA and Douglas County Fire District No. 2 responded to the Grouse Butte Fire around 11:20 a.m. The fire burned a quarter acre of grass and brush before it was contained.
Around 3:30 p.m., crews from Lookingglass Rural Fire Department and the DFPA responded to the Strickland Canyon Fire, which was quickly contained after burning about 1/100th of an acre of grass.