We checked out the July 3 fireworks last night at the Oregon Garden at Silverton, and a fine experience it was.
(And we'll brook no snipes about the event's holiday-eve date. If we'd paid more attention to history, the big celebration would be happening on July 2 rather than July 4 anyway.)
The future of the Oregon Garden, a spectacular and beautiful collection of plant life from the state and around the world - probably without equal in the Northwest - has been in doubt. Intended as a major tourist draw, it has drawn fewer people than hoped for. It has needed financial bailouts, and has gotten them, so far. It has gotten solid community support too. But it can use all it can get.
So what they did, last night, was throw a fireworks - a fine show, with musical entertainment and catering from the fine Salem-based (and Silverton-founded) Roth's groceries.
The scale is not enormous. Silverton is a place of about 8,000 people, nearby coomunities are smaller, and though the event draws from the Salem area, Salem had its own events too. But a great big crowd poured into the garden, enough to create big traffic issues. All around, the event seemed a big success.
So: The curiousity of Boise, which will be fireworks-less again this year. From today's Idaho Statesman editorial: "This is sad and embarrassing. A vibrant city of 200,000 — with a proven record of throwing community and corporate support behind big events — ought to do a whole lot better. So let's resolve to do it. Come July 4, 2007, let's have a fireworks display to bring back memories of the Boise River Festival."
Memories of the Boise River Festival? You mean the cookie-cutter production (try Googling "river festival") that emphasized out of region vendors and productions and increasingly had less and less to do with Boise specifically until, finally, it financially crashed and burned? That one?
A suggestion: Find something uniquely Boiesan, something that could use some additional attention, and build a community fireworks around that.
Such a fireworks could become a double celebration, as it was last evening at the Oregon Gardens.