Behind the Scenes of the “Boom” – By Kaitlyn Collier

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I grew up in Manassas Park and have attended the Manassas Park Fourth of July Celebration every year at Signal Hill Park! However, for the past five years, I have attended this event as a staff member of the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. Until I began working on this event, I had absolutely no idea how much work goes into putting on an event of this magnitude. It is crazy to think about, but we actually begin planning for this event about 9 months in advance. Think about that number—9 months of planning for a five-hour event!

The first task on the staff “to do list” is obviously the biggest part of the night: the fireworks. We work with a vendor in order to get the best fireworks the City will see. This vendor works with our Fire Marshal to ensure all the fireworks we see are set up properly. The fireworks vendors work between 8-10 hours on the Fourth for a 20-30 minute show! I know I am not alone when I say we all appreciate the planning because we love to see the beautiful fireworks as we celebrate the Fourth!

If you were at the fireworks celebration, you probably noticed staff from the Department of Parks and Recreation checking bags to ensure the safety of our patrons. The Parks and Recreation staff also coordinated the parking situation to ensure all cars were able to exit smoothly at the end of the show.

Our staff also orders trash and recycle boxes, and portable restrooms. We also secure extra light towers so that everyone is able to see around the park-especially when heading home at the end of the night.

For several months prior to the Fourth of July Celebration event, our staff works in conjunction with the City of Manassas Park Police, Fire Rescue, and Public Works Departments planning and implementing all aspects of this event to guarantee that everyone is safe while they enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July.

Once the celebration is over, we begin to plan for next year’s show! In January, all the Departments involved meet to compare notes on what went well, and what did not. Realizing just how much work goes into large events like this has now taught me to appreciate the events I attend. I look at these events amazed, and catch myself thinking about how much work it takes to put on a successful event. The hard work behind the scenes is what makes it possible for everyone to enjoy great events like the Annual Fourth of July Celebration at Signal Hill Park!

Kaitlyn Collier is the Special Events Assistant for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at K.Collier@ManassasParkVA.gov

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