Visalia fireworks show may move locations

VISALIA, California

A long-time tradition of fireworks at the Mineral King Bowl in Downtown Visalia could soon come to an end if the event grows any more than it already has.

Kurtis Brown with the Visalia Fire Department said, "The event can't grow much bigger than it already is and if the foundation wants it to get larger to do larger fireworks we will have to make more adjustments at that point."

Visalia's growing population and more popular, explosive fireworks are prompting safety concerns by the parks and recreation foundation, which has been putting on the show for the last 12 of the 48 years it's been at the Mineral King Bowl.

Carol Hoppert Hays with Visalia Parks and Recreation Foundation said, "The shells that we're firing off are getting bigger and so the ones that we can and are able to in this area aren't as flashy as they used to be."

Hays says the event draws 8,000 people inside the stadium, and another 7,000 gathered outside. Making the proximity to where they fire the fireworks right across the street, a little too close for comfort.

Every year the Visalia Fire Department works to adjust the "fall out zone" … or really safety zone around where the fireworks are launched, to ensure people don't get hurt, in case one of the fireworks fails.

Brown explained, "We made adjustments and we are working on it, the show is very large so we've made adjustments we've added fire crews we've done some safety things to make it work."

But with Visalia's population continuing to grow, organizers are worried the Mineral King Bowl will soon be too small and unsafe for the traditional fireworks show.

Hays says Groppetti Automotive stadium is one of several new venues they're looking at.

As for Thursday's big show, organizers and the fire department is asking people to get there early. The show goes down at 7p.m. at the Mineral King Bowl.

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