Annual Fortuna Fireworks Festival draws large crowd

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

For the past four years, dedicated Fortuna businesses and residents have donated time, money, and hearts to treating the community to a fireworks festival. Each year the festival expands and draws larger crowds to enjoy a pre-party to the Fourth of July.

This year's event was held on July 3 at Newburg Park in Fortuna. Kid's activities and a barbecue began at 5:30 p.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m. with a firework extravaganza following at dark.

The event has seen a lot of support. Hops in Humboldt generously donated a grant towards the fireworks while the Fortuna Business Improvement District has provided advertising and insurance. Wendt Construction stepped up and sponsored the stage, lights, power, and all technical support. The Fortuna Fire District, City of Fortuna, the Fortuna Police Department, and Parks and Recreation have also been instrumental in the success of this event.

According to the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce and event coordinator Tina Taylor, the outpouring of support for this year's event was overwhelming.

"Donations ranging from $25 to $200 are came in every day, and every little bit helped," Taylor said. "It just proves that even in the toughest economic times a community can pull together to put on an event that celebrates the true spirit of small-town America!"

There was a wide assortment of kid's activities during the event to keep families of all ages entertained and excited. There were clowns, balloon animals, bounce houses, ice cream eating contest, Fortuna Fireman's challenges, and other fun activities.

The pie eating contest again proved to be very entertaining with tricks, hope it would end soon, and fierce competition. The competitive nature of local businesses, city departments, service clubs, and community groups help put them to the test as they signed up a representative to eat a pie with their hands put behind their backs for the title.

The coveted title of "Pie Hog of the 2013 Year" for the Fortuna Fireworks Festival went to Hops in Humboldt representative Mike Woods.

Those who just wanted to relax and take in the spirit of small-town America brought a blanket, chair, LEGAL fireworks and found a comfy spot to sit back and relax.

There were many great booths to get treats raising money for B.I.K.E., Fortuna Middle School Class of 2014, Eel River Rapids Soccer Club, and Boy Scouts Relay for Life Team.

The fireworks seemed shorter this year, but with a greater amount of climatic peaks for the hundreds of spectators. The roar of the crowd could be heard ringing out throughout Newburg park.

It is never too early to start planning for the next year so if you would like to make a donation to F.F.F. and mail it to P.O. Box 491, Fortuna, CA 95540. For more information or volunteer opportunities email or call 725-9261.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Robert Johnson of Green's Pharmacy, Fortuna Councilman Mike Losey, and Fortuna Police Department Chief Dobberstein dig into their apple pies in hopes of winning the coveted Piggy title at the annual pie eating contest at the annual Fortuna Fireworks Festival held on July 3. The threesome lost out to Hops in Humboldt representative Mike Woods.