Crowds to be shuttled to fairgrounds for fireworks |

Crowds to be shuttled to fairgrounds for fireworks

Nevada County Fairgrounds’ parking lots will be closed for Friday’s fireworks show, but organizers said Wednesday that free shuttle buses and private parking will be available for spectators.

In the past, fireworks fans could pay $3 to park at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley. This year, however, more than half of the fairgrounds has been converted into a camp for around 700 firefighters battling blazes in the Tahoe National Forest.

Friday’s Independence Day fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. Gates 1, 2, 3 and 8 will open for pedestrians at 3 p.m. Activities, including live music, are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. The show costs $8 for adults, but is free for children under 12 and for service members in uniform.

Fireworks shows in Colfax and Lake of the Pines have been canceled after organizers were unable to get guaranteed fire protection. The Nevada County Consolidated Fire Department will provide the protection for the fireworks show at the fairgrounds.

Lake Wildwood still plans to hold a show for the gated community, though fireworks will be launched from a barge on the lake rather than from the shore as in past years.

Spectators going to the fairgrounds can park for free at Sierra College and take a bus to the event. One bus will be used to pick up spectators until 5 p.m., when three more buses will be added to the fleet, Howard Levine of the Grass Valley Downtown Business Association said.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church lot on McCourtney Road is charging $3 to park at one of its 1,200 spaces. From there, it’s a short jaunt to Gate 3.

As many as 2,000 spaces are available at private lots across from gates 1, 2, 3 and 4 and along McCourtney Road. Levine said he did not know what might be charged at those lots. A limited amount of handicapped parking is available inside the fairgrounds at Gate 2, he said.

Ken Harney, the pyrotechnician who will orchestrate Friday night’s fireworks, said he anticipates no problems at the show, which will be supervised by a representative from the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

“The fact that it is dry in California doesn’t mean the fairgrounds aren’t as safe as ever,” said Harney, a Grass Valley plumbing contractor who has been doing fireworks shows for 40 years.

Firefighters stationed at the fairgrounds are looking forward to the fireworks as well, said Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.

“They have been encouraging us to do the show,” she said.

The fireworks display is a fundraiser for the Grass Valley and Nevada City chambers of commerce and the Grass Valley Downtown Business Association.

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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