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Mystery fireworks take over the North Beach sky

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 23rd, 2010

A fireworks show near North Beach had people wondering what was going on Saturday night. Many people emailed us that they heard booms and had watched the show. “We just watched half an hour of amazing fireworks over Puget Sound from a barge out from somewhere between Carkeek and Golden Gardens. Really wonderful!!” a reader emailed us.


YouTube video posted in the forum by rexjak of Saturday’s fireworks.

“That was without a doubt the best fireworks show I’ve ever viewed from my living room window! Absolutely amazing and definitely as dramatic and incredible as the fireworks on July 4th! They went on . . . and on . . . and on!! Not sure what the occasion was, but thanks for whoever shared this spectacle with us. It was great!” Elliott wrote in the forum. The only thing we’ve learned is that the fireworks were part of a private party. (Thanks everyone for the emails!)

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80 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 yep // May 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

    this is pretty funny–especially after we were threatened that the 4th of July fireworks would be cancelled this year.

    I guess there’s still some deep pockets around to draw attention to themselves.

    thank goodness for the argon in my windows–I heard NOTHING.

  • 2 Michael Teer // May 23, 2010 at 8:23 am

    The barge was actually right off of North Beach, We are on the 3000 block of NW 95th and the barge was slightly to the west. A great show!

  • 3 Sus // May 23, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I felt like I was five years old! What a wonderful surprise~

  • 4 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Personally, I found it really obnoxious and intrusive. Bad enough we have to put up with sanitized simulated warfare displays on July 4th; now any yahoo with a bank account can impose their idea of “fun” on thousands of people whether they like it or not. Feh.

  • 5 Jennifer // May 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

    A friend in the neighborhood let me know that it was a birthday present from a guy for his wife. I guess her roommate was invited to the party.

  • 6 ethel // May 23, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I wasn’t very happy about it either, as I was just going to sleep, and at first thought it was someone with a batch of illegal fireworks in the street.

  • 7 AtWorkCat // May 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Seems lots of things are getting taken over in Ballard these days.

  • 8 KF // May 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

    If it was done illegally, then I hope Mr Deep Pockets is getting a hefty fine. If it was permitted and legal, then whatever, it wasn’t that late…

  • 9 Chopper W // May 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Sounds AWESOME! People need to relax, and enjoy a random surprise sometimes… Those who were bothered probably didn’t enjoy their early bird special that night either… I hope the guy who provided the show for his girlfriend got lucky!

  • 10 North Beacher // May 23, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Yay Chopper! I hope some people seriously loosen up. Most people enjoy fireworks as spectacles of wonder. From inside of my house it wasn’t that loud, and we certainly weren’t forced to watch. They were wonderful! It’s not a “display of warfare” good grief! I appreciated sharing with the “deep pockets”. Some people on here sound so resentful.

  • 11 Kelly Payne // May 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I couldn’t see it from my house in Maple Leaf, thought it was the oddest sounding thunder I ever heard!

  • 12 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Making a lot of assumptions there, Chopper W and North Beacher. A dislike of fireworks doesn’t necessarily indicate advanced age, an inability to relax or appreciate “spectacles of wonder”, or seething resentment (umm, of what, exactly?). Some of us just don’t care for them. Doesn’t make us bad people.

  • 13 ethel // May 23, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I like fireworks ordinarily. I don’t care for unexpected ones whose noise wakes me up and whose beauty I cannot see. Doesn’t seem like a surprising attitude.

  • 14 blackcat91 // May 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I thought it was thunder & lightning, too, until I went outside to look and saw what I thought might be fireworks through the trees (I’m near Swanson’s). I searched the web and the only thing I came up with was a fireworks demo happening on Lummi Island last night at the same time… pretty far away considering how loud it was. I didn’t mind & probably wouldn’t have heard anything if I’d had my windows closed. It just surprised my dogs a bit… and my parrot who was in the front window facing the Sound & had the best view of the sky lighting up (luckily she didn’t get freaked).

  • 15 Wlson // May 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    What a pain in the a##. Scared the pets, spent a long time trying to calm them down. Distracted the reading I was doing. Apparently we do not tax the rich enough.

  • 16 jose // May 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

    God bless our freedom to do what we want, within the law of course, and our freedom to complain about it. Peace

  • 17 Brian // May 23, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Coming back from ironman2 and we ran smack dab into the show. My boys and i thought it was terrific and my wife was bummed that she stopped at the grocery and missed it. Bravo to the booms and color bursts!

  • 18 Amy // May 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    This was BS. Having to listen for 30 minutes to my house rattling and the walls booming… at least with some of that money you could have notified the neighborhood of what was happening. It’s called common courtesy but apparently your money didn’t buy you knowledge of that.

  • 19 Plasticbags // May 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I thought the commentary on the video was adorable. The parents were in awe and the kid could not care any less. Thanks to whoever filmed it! What a fun surprise.

  • 20 Ann // May 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I live in Loyal Heights, and the fireworks were beautiful and a welcome surprise as I watched through my skylight. My most nervous dog barked a couple times at the “thunder” before settling in to watch the show with us. For starting before 10 on a Saturday night; it wasn’t late at all! No more annoying than all the streets being blocked on a single day Nighe Out!

    Hard to surprise someone if you have to notify everyone with a 10-mile radius. I wish people would lighten up and enjoy life’s little surprises. I find the whole Ballard angst tiresome. I thank the person who put on the display, and hope his wife, his family and his party had a wonderful night! Here’s to a whole summer of magic in ballard!

  • 21 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I’ll lighten up if you will. :-)

  • 22 Cris // May 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Oh, fer Pete’s sake. How very Seattle to grouse about a surprise fireworks display. It was far more pleasant experiencing a bounty of color in the sky than it was sitting at the table next to a whining vegan last night at a restaurant, a loud woman who made sure everybody within earshot knew she didn’t want butter on her roti. I’ll take fireworks any day over the incessant p.c. whining.

  • 23 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    You would have liked it better if she was complaining that her steak wasn’t rare enough? Your point is that she was forcing on you something that you didn’t want to experience (her whining), and you are entitled to your annoyance. I feel the same way about the fireworks.

  • 24 Rob // May 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Ugh. It’s hard to appreciate fireworks when your beloved dog is severely upset by explosions and tries to burrow deep into the closet.

    Yes, I agree that people should have the freedom to experience fireworks if that’s what makes them tick, but during designated times. Otherwise it’s just noise pollution to those who are not interested because they can’t see or they just don’t care. This wasn’t an opt in situation and not everyone likes unexpected loud explosions. It seems like all the people who enjoyed this were people who had the luxury of seeing it.

  • 25 Schmedly // May 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I too thought it was BS. I was just taking a swing of beer on my back porch when the fireworks started and I spat my beer right in my wife’s face. I was so suprised by it. So I grabbed my daughter and friend who were going down for their slumber party sleep and dragged them out to watch the show. One we cleaned up all the beer it was a delight to watch. I love fireworks almost as much as I enjoy reading the joys and complaints on blogs like this.

  • 26 BallardDINK // May 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Totally awesome. High five to whoever arranged them. Thanks!

    Almost as entertaining as the cane-shakers and whiners in this comment thread. “Someone put on a free professional fireworks show for his wife and entertained an entire neighborhood? Without filing a ‘Request for Expression of Love’ form in triplicate, or an environmental impact statement? Oh, the nerve! Harumph!”

    Reminds me of the grouchy old men in the balcony box of The Muppet Show. :p

  • 27 Boatpeople // May 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Pleasant surprise, the boat horns and cheering at Shilshole were festive and fun!

  • 28 winegirl // May 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    BallardDINK:
    Statler and Waldorf!
    :)

    I had REAL thunder at my house over in Kirkland… would have much rather had some fireworks.

  • 29 MikeG // May 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    So cool. “What’s a battleship?” :)

  • 30 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    A general comment. Why is it necessary to make qualitative comments about people who express a different point of view? “Grouchy old men.” “Cane-shakers.” “Whiners.” “Resentful.” Is it not permissible to dislike fireworks? Is it not permissible to say so in a public forum? And yes, you have every right to call anyone any name you want, but why do you feel compelled to do so?

    In reading over the posts, I see some criticism of the fireworks themselves, but not of the people who posted favorable comments. Yet many of the responses to the critical posts stray from the topic of the fireworks to indulge in speculation about and derision of the character of anyone foolish enough to (gasp!) criticize the fireworks display. Nobody’s being picked on for liking them; why doesn’t the opposite hold true?

    No matter how right you know you are, some people are inevitably going to disagree with you. Perhaps consider attempting to accept it with some grace, and stop the name-calling. Please.

  • 31 Curmodgeon // May 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I definitely did not appreciate it from my home above Shilshole. The explosive sounds reverberated across the bay and we were concerned that there had been multiple explosions at the Marina or a train collision. It was actually quite frightening. It would have been prudent to notify the community in advance. 911 dispatchers said they had no knowledge of any permit being issued. I trust that an appropriate fine will be issued. Next time instead of being so self centered think about being a good neighbor…..it’s not all about you.

  • 32 jfkldjfda // May 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    “ABtm”,

    Of course it’s permissible to dislike fireworks, people just think you are annoying that’s all….

  • 33 A boy // May 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I understand the fear for ones pets. I love my pets. But that show was spectacular, and for the people who complained about not being able to see it…it was thirty minutes long! You could have found some place to watch. ABtm, you should stop drawing all this attention to yourself, the real concern is that you ARN’T old. It’s a frightening thought that a young person could be so lame.

  • 34 ballarditeee // May 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Curmodgeon,

    you thought there was a train collision?!?!? i’ve never heard of a 30 minute train collision before…..

  • 35 BenT // May 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Differing opinions aside, does anyone find it improbable that a non-guilt laden man would spend $100,000 on a fireworks display for his wife on any occasion? Rather than affection, does it not scream “I slept with your sister! I’m sorry, but please don’t take half of my fortune”?

  • 36 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Wow. I’m lame and annoying because I don’t like fireworks. I’ve always wondered why nobody likes me. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • 37 jfkldjfda // May 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    ^^^^^^^^ no prob

  • 38 joe bob // May 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    i love fireworks, but i do think it’s kind of lame to impose your fun on an entire neighborhood…as made obvious by this forum some people are going to love it but just as many people aren’t, and based on that fact it makes me wonder what the criteria behind granting a permit for such a thing are (assuming they had the necessary clearances/permits). my guess would be that it’s money talks, f–k the neighbors. hahaha.

    at the very least it would seem reasonable to require anyone doing this sort of thing to make some kind of reasonable attempt to alert the neighborhood, not just so people aren’t freaked out by an un-announced show, but also so the ones who do want to enjoy it can make plans to watch. if you are using OUR sky and OUR sound-sphere for your little show, then we all get to watch. maybe that would ruin the wife’s suprise, but we can’t all just run around like this city is our own little kingdom can we.

    p.s. the wife and i are sort of WWII history buffs, i’m planning a 21 cannon salute for her birthday next year…where do i get my permit?

  • 39 Ballardite // May 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Dear Jfkldjfda,

    You are awesome.

  • 40 ethel // May 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I for one never said it was a terrible thing to set off the fireworks or that it should not have been done. I just didn’t happen to have a wonderful time listening to the noise, that’s all.

    “for the people who complained about not being able to see it…it was thirty minutes long! You could have found some place to watch. ” — um, duh, how were we supposed to know how long it was going to be? For all I knew it would be over any minute.

  • 41 heyhi // May 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe these trolls are COMPLAINING about a free professional firework show that was absolutely amazing.

    Clearly that 30 minutes was too long to bear.

    Proof that there were more people who LOVED the show than disliked it is that there were cars double parked in the middle of just about every high street with a view in Olympic Manner.

    Thanks for the epic show mystery millionaire!

  • 42 tohb // May 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I didn’t like it, and you shouldn’t either.

    Too noisy and colorful, they should have tried to tone it down a bit.

    Very inconsiderate.

    Some of us don’t like noises.

  • 43 Dan // May 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Well, the happy people liked it and the sad ones didn’t. Maybe the sad ones could have enjoyed it just a little if they pretended that it was for someone they knew. I pretended it was for my friend Adrianna who just arrived here and her mom and I had a “blast” watching them. At first we thought it was thunder and imagine this, sad people, we actually went out to enjoy a thunderstorm and got to see a beautiful display instead. This might be difficult to understand for the sad ones. Try to have fun every day, you don’t get that day back. Thanks for the free show and happy birthday! Maybe money does buy love.

  • 44 heyhi // May 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    All of the people who liked the show could pitch in for some handguns with suppressors for the people who don’t like noises.

  • 45 oly // May 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    whoever ABtm you are such a miserable bastard. i cant believe that you cant sit back on a saturday night and enjoy 30 minutes of beautiful excitment. to bad one didnt just land on your stupid house. have a lovely evening. ill be back with thunder from down under. =]

  • 46 oly // May 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    and that goes to all the other negative nancys.

  • 47 Olymanorite // May 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for the show. My son was born 24 hours earlier and I considered it a wonderful birthday present even though he and my two year old daughter were fast asleep. I showed the video to my daughter this morning and she loved it.

    This happened about 5 years ago in the same spot. Hope it won’t take another 5 for the next display.

  • 48 Rob // May 23, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    He also wanted to clarify that his comment was directed at oly NOT Olymanorite. Thanks!

  • 49 peeznquiet // May 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Well, first I thought it was thunder, then when it went on for more than thunder, I thought it was the oil containers at Richmond beach? blowing up, then I thought it was war, then I turned off the computer. Nothing about it on tv. So I figured it was fireworks. I sure would have liked to see them. I feel cheated!

  • 50 Rob // May 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Because I actually like fireworks.

  • 51 jfkldjfda // May 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Maybe your dog can become ABtm’s first friend.

  • 52 oly // May 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    big words rob. big words. haha i will go eff myself.. with bunny. thank you .. good idea =]

  • 53 Rob // May 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I’m glad you could find the humor in it.

  • 54 ABtm // May 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I lied. I loved the fireworks, and I love you, Oly.

  • 55 kim // May 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    i thought maybe the mariners won. fat chance!

  • 56 Phinney D // May 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Loved the show from Phinney Ridge.

  • 57 Dennis // May 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    The fireworks last night were great! My wife and I discussed them today with our next door neighbor, and that makes four of us who enjoyed the impromptu colorful surprise! They provided a great nightcap on a Saturday.

  • 58 Debbie Downer // May 24, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I wanted to get my kids to sleep and these idiots were blasting off fireworks late for no damn reason, I almost called the cops on them!

  • 59 don't get it // May 24, 2010 at 6:52 am

    There are so many things to get angry about. The neighbor mowing the lawn when you are trying to get your baby to sleep, the cars with the loud music, obnoxious motorcycles zipping by the house, dogs barking, etc. NONE of these things physically hurt you right? Did the fireworks physically hurt you? I mean, come on folks, stop bitching and relize what a beautiful place you live in. If you spend all your time complaining about silly things, you will miss your life flying by and that would be sad.

  • 60 ABtm the Miserable Bastard // May 24, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Such hyperbole! Who would ever think that one comment about fireworks would send so many people into paroxysms of rage over the perceived inability of one person to enjoy life? Thanks for caring, but really, this backlash is a bit excessive. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  • 61 Walt // May 24, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Personally I like naked women running through the street but I suppose a few wet blankets out there would object to a unannounced free show.

  • 62 Ballard Guy // May 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

    “Apparently we do not tax the rich enough.”

    Yet again, Seattleites seething class jealousies, pettiness and uptightness boils up. Living here is like living in some small, remote, inbred Swedish village somedays.

  • 63 Grover // May 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Perhaps the greatest gift to all of you is that the unexpected fireworks DIDN’T remind you of the sound and flash of artillery fire and of real-life death and destruction. For some of your neighbors, such things mean only the true costs of the freedoms you enjoy. Think about it a week from today on Memorial Day.

  • 64 Ballard-ite // May 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

    myballard.com should just change the “Comment” section to the “Complaint” section

  • 65 Linda // May 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I think it is so annoying when people complain about this kind of stuff. First off, it was on a Saturday night. Secondly, you live in the city, there will be noise from time to time. If you don’t like it, move. The world doesn’t stop moving because you put your kids to bed or because it reaches ten o’clock.
    People that whine about this stuff need to change their attitude and say to themselves “this is for one night and the world does not revolve around my schedule”.

  • 66 ballardsucka#275 // May 24, 2010 at 11:26 am

    i’d like to know why i can have a house party that gets shut down by the cops after 10 o’clock for being too loud, yet it’s okay for this guy to obviously piss off a whole neighborhood full of people. don’t get me wrong, i love the fireworks and thinks it’s a great celebration, i just think we should all be treated alike.

  • 67 ABtm the Miserable Bastard // May 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Linda-

    And if you read blogs, you will be exposed to differing opinions. If you don’t like it, move on. The world doesn’t stop moving just because someone disagrees with you. People who whine about blog comments need to change their attitude, don’t you think?

  • 68 ethel // May 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, too. I just don’t like them in my ear when I’m trying to sleep. And if anyone doesn’t like that, I’m showing up outside your window whacking a couple of bright copper kettles together while wearing my warm woolen mittens.

  • 69 KRS // May 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I love a good fireworks show but I have to agree with the folks who were concerned about their pets (some of which were traumatized) and wanting some notice. We expect noise and commotion on the 4th of July and know we need to get to the vet for our doggie valium so I don’t think some kind of community warning is asking too much. If this guy did the planning and had the money to spend on a fireworks show (I don’t begrudge him and I’m sure he’s worked hard for his money) he could have found a way to notify neighbors without his wife suspecting.

  • 70 Just Curious // May 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    What if the fireworks were a surprise for you? Would you care about the noise then?

  • 71 JoeBallard // May 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    It would have been cool if one of those fireworks went astray and destroyed the tent at Picconlinos.

  • 72 Girly Girl // May 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Let’s not sweat the small stuff folks! Those of us who loved it, let’s just leave the grouchy ones to themselves…..they get irritated easily anyway. It was relatively early on a Saturday night and my girlfriends and I were enjoying a birthday GNO sleepover at our dear friends lovely Broadmoor home and the show was the icing on the cake! Those of you who were lucky enough to actually see them fireworks over the water from your view homes and still complain ought to be ashamed of yourself……some people don’t even have a house to live in…in a nice neighborhood, let alone with a view. It was an incredible show with amazing pyrotechnics that I’ve never seen…..the hearts, the plants…..truly it was beautiful.

    Schmedly, you cracked me up (and I’m sure many others) and you have the right attitude……to just go with the flow.

  • 73 nwcitizen // May 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    If it were a simpler time then I too might rejoice in the celebration. However, those fireworks did remind me of artillery fire and bombs raining down on people and that image makes me sad.

  • 74 Girly Girl // May 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Olymanorite, can you upload your video to You Tube? Would love it see it!

    If you search for Fireworks on May 22, 2010 someone else says they were Quinault Casino Fireworks? Hmm? Those we are referring to were on the west shore along Carkeek Park and Golden Gardens.

    I am truly sorry for those of you who it may have seriously upset…..nwcitizen, sounds as though this goes deeper.

  • 75 Steve // May 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I didn’t even know it happened till I read about it.

    And now I’m angry.

    Angry that it was so loud, and uncontrolled.

    It sounds like a rich man, out of control, forcing his show onto the whole city.

    What an imposter he is, Mr Richie Rich, with his outburst of fireworks on a poor, unprepared city of people who don’t need to be bothered like that.

    Poo I say.

  • 76 motorrad // May 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    @nwcitizen
    Where did you serve and which unit?

  • 77 Ballard Guy // May 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    “those fireworks did remind me of artillery fire and bombs raining down on people and that image makes me sad.”

    Give me a break.

  • 78 JoeBallard // May 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I blame the crows

  • 79 Anne // May 29, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I am not against fireworks per say but having warning is important, especially for people of PETS. I was out of town Saturday. Unfortunately, my dog has been missing since Saturday (got out of fenced yard) and has been roaming around Carkeek Park area since Saturday. I was wondering why she didn’t just come home as she knows the way. Now I know she was absolutely traumatized by these FIREWORKS!!!!!! I am a little bitter.

  • 80 Mimi H // May 30, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I just have to say thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog. It was highly amusing to read…especially the comments by poor ABtm.

    I lived in Fremont a few years ago when a similar thing happened, I was out for a jog one night and heard booms but couldn’t see anything. My wild imagination convinced me it was a terrorist attack in progress and I ran home like a bat-out-of-hell and hid in my basement for long enough to feel like a complete and total idiot… If my paranoia hadn’t gotten the better of me I probably would have enjoyed the show. Fireworks are rad. However, it would be nice to have a little warning…

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