Fireworks need a financial spark

Penticton Lakeside Resort seeking help putting on this year's Canada Day show

For more than 20 years, Pentictonites have been treated to a fireworks show above Okanagan Lake on New Year’s Eve and Canada Day.

And for most of the 20 plus years, the Penticton Lakeside Resort has sponsored the show and footed the bill.

“I think there was one year we didn’t do it because of the weather, but most years we have managed to do it,” said David Prystay, the Lakeside’s general manager, who instituted the tradition when he took over 23 years ago.

But the cost of the keeping the show going has increased over the years, and Prystay said the Lakeside needs help to keep the Canada Day show spectacular.

“What’s happened over the years is the cost of doing it has grown exponentially. It just got to the point where we couldn’t get much of a show for $10,000,” said Prystay.

“So we reached out to the community for the last few years asking for help for the Canada Day fireworks. We haven’t asked for help for New Year’s Eve.”

The City of Penticton has chipped in a couple of times over the years, according to Prystay, though not regularly.

“It’s not in their budget. But I know the city appreciates it and it does help tourism, and it does help the community and it does help the community feel a little bonding on that day,” he said.

Prystay said that Penticton’s Canada Day fireworks may not be as large as shows in other communities, like Osoyoos, but “it’s a very pleasant show for the kids and families of Penticton.”

“Mike Thompson, the owner of Skyline Fireworks, has been very generous over the years,” said Prystay. “There have been several years where we haven’t quite had enough to do a $10,000 show and he has come up to the plate and augmented the show and helped us out, because we have been with him for so many years.”

Along with the cost of the fireworks show itself, there are additional costs like permits, liability insurance, extra staffing and security to keep onlookers at a safe distance, both during the show and during the fireworks setup, which can take the day.

Prystay explained that he had a simple reason for starting the Penticton’s annual Canada Day fireworks and keeping it going through the years.

“Because I am a patriotic Canadian and I always thought that fireworks were a good way of expressing ourselves on Canada Day,” he said, adding that while growing up, he liked to watch the fireworks shows put on by the fire department in his hometown.

“They would always do fireworks as a community event. That sort of fell by the wayside over the years,” said Prystay. “I just took that under my wing and did it here.”