There’s always an element of the unknown when trying something new but in terms of community enjoyment, the Patriot Night Under the Lights event on July 4 at the Kittitas Valley Event Center, has to be termed a success.

Additionally, when taken in context with other community celebrations such as Pioneer Days in the Upper County and the Fourth of July community celebration in Kittitas, it has to be considered a winning combination of events.

Beyond creating an opportunity for people to have a good time — locals and visitors — July 4 events serve an important community safety purpose.

If people have events to enjoy and public aerial fireworks to view, they are less likely to purchase their own personal fireworks for use at home.

There is understandable skepticism when something is “banned” that it will stop people from engaging it that activity — especially something as hard to police as use of personal fireworks.

But the bans largely are effective. Anyone who lived in Ellensburg prior to the personal fireworks ban and then in the years the ban has been in place can attest that the town is far quieter on the 4th of July. There are still people who set off fireworks, but it is a relative small percentage.

That percentage seems even smaller when there is a public aerial display, such as there was this year in Ellensburg.

The Patriot Night event was more than fireworks, it also featured a concert headlined by country western star Tracey Lawrence. It was a pretty big deal for midsummer in Ellensburg. How it played out financially will play a role in determining future endeavors but, regardless, kudos to the Kittitas Valley Event Center, under the direction of Kady Potterfield for trying something new.

This weekend also reminded at what is stake at this time of year. If you were to develop a list of super scary fire scenarios for the Kittitas Valley, a fire in the Manastash area would be near the top.

Crews from Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service did exceptional work Saturday afternoon quickly getting on top of a fire in rugged terrain in Riggs Canyon off of Robinson Canyon.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. It takes very little to start a fire in dry conditions. There is no indication that this involved fireworks but here are certainly examples for firework-caused fires here and throughout the region.

The fire also emphasized the need to comply with the burn ban in place throughout Kittitas County. Even though the weather been a bit up and down, this is fire season.

In this situation, enhancing fire safety over the Fourth of July holiday means creating events we can all enjoy — that’s a winning solution.

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