Fireworks fly on damp Fourth

Thousands of residents and visitors weathered occasional heavy rain to celebrate Independence Day at yesterday’s Kaua‘i Hospice 19th Annual Concert in the Sky at Lihu‘e’s Vidinha Soccer Field.

Event Coordinator Sandra Tedder said that she expected at least 7,500 people — and more than 500 volunteers — to attend the all-day festival featuring food, music, fireworks and more.

“This is a wonderful family event,” said Councilman Tim Bynum, who was volunteering with supporters at a beverage tent. “There’s good food, good company … good music, and then a great show.

“People who don’t come in will miss out. They can see the fireworks, but (not) the music and the camaraderie.”

The musical entertainment, sponsored by Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, featured a lineup that began at roughly 3 p.m. and included Ryan Hiraoka & RSP Crew, Revival, The Takeoffs, Leilani Rivera Bond & Halau Hula o Leilani and ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.

Also, Dickie Chang was to host a preliminary round of Superstars Kaua‘i’s second annual talent search for top island singers. The festival was again emceed by radio host Ron Wiley.

“It’s a hallmark event and a real Kaua‘i kind of thing,” said Kaua‘i Sen. Gary Hooser, also volunteering at a beverage tent. “It’s an important day for our country.”

The aerial fireworks show, presented by King Auto Center, was to commence at around 8:30 p.m.

All proceeds — from admission to food sales to a silent auction — went to support Kaua‘i Hospice, an organization that “does some amazing things in our Kaua‘i community,” according to Executive Director Lori Miller.

“Nineteen years ago, the (Kaua‘i Hospice) organization was just getting started, and they recognized that there was an opportunity to capture the Kaua‘i community,” Miller said. “It really wasn’t intended to be a fundraiser, it was more intended to be a ‘friend-raiser,’ and to be able to give something back to the community.”

Kaua‘i Hospice provides in-home medical care to those that have been diagnosed with terminal diseases, bereavement counseling to grieving family members and general information, education and around-the-clock support, according to Administrative Assistant Trishana Star.

“Fundraising is our primary goal, but the equal goal is to let people know what hospice does and that we’re available,” said Tedder, in her eighth year organizing the event.

One night earlier, the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands held its annual Stars & Stripes Freedom Celebration at the PMRF softball field.

“Everything went really well,” said PMRF spokesperson Tom Clements, who estimated an attendance of 2,700. “The music was great, the fireworks were great and the crowd was great.”

Bands Rock Candy and Aloha Breeze provided music before a planned 12-minute fireworks display courtesy of Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics Inc.

Hi Risk Faktor completed the evening’s entertainment.

Home Depot sponsored the event, which featured free admission and parking and included food, games and craft booths.

“It was a wonderful chance to share our base and the fireworks with the community,” Clements said.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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