It’s going to be finale after finale after finale at Havelock’s Freedom Festival fireworks display this Fourth of July.
"It’s one of the larger displays in Eastern North Carolina," said Chris Moncourtios, owner of Class A Services of Stella. Moncourtois is in his 10th year lighting the sky on the Fourth of July in Havelock.
The 9 p.m. show caps an evening of fun at Havelock City Park and Walter B. Jones Park on Thursday.
Moncourtios said there would be four elements to the Havelock fireworks display.
"One is kind of an oxymoron, but basically it’s a final finale for an opener," he said. "We always start the fireworks display with a miniature final finale that will end with salutes. That’s the thing that goes boom, boom, boom.
"And then from there we go right to the body of the display, which are the individual shells, but we have little miniature finales called cakes that we add along with the body. Cakes are a very rapid firing, normally a 100- to 150-shot finale with certain effects to it. That way you have a display that’s very interesting and very high in the sky, with four-, five- and six-inch shells, and you also have something going on at a lower level as well. The last part is, of course, the final finale."
Moncourtios said about 1,000 shells would be fired up to 700 feet high during the 25-minute show, which is scheduled to lift off in the empty field behind the Havelock Police Department. He said several of the fireworks will be new to the Havelock display this year.
"We have hearts. We have smiley faces with glittering eyes. We have timed rain, where the shell breaks and kind of looks like a snowstorm," he said. "We import from China, and it seems like every year the effects get better and better."
The veteran show producer said fireworks still fascinate him.
"There’s a little bit of a danger element to it and also just a fascination of exactly what you can do with charcoal, potassium nitrate and the different types of metals for different colors," Moncourtios said.
And he and his crew appreciate the feedback.
"In Havelock, you have two things. You have the crowd and you have car horns," he said. "We do hear the crowd, and it’s awful rewarding knowing that you did a good job and everything went off safely."
Dave Smith, Havelock Parks and Recreation Director, said the city spent $11,800 on the fireworks show, which caps the annual Freedom Festival held in Havelock City Park.
The festival is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and will include a variety of organizations selling hotdogs, funnel cakes, snow cones, cotton candy, nachos, chicken wings, popcorn, and all sorts of beverages.
The old-fashioned celebration includes a variety of games, including three-legged races and egg relay races. Age divisions range from 6 and under, 7 to 12 to 13 and older.
"All the games are very popular," said A.D. Brady, the recreation department’s organizer of the Freedom Festival. "They really have a good time. It’s really in the spirit of the holiday.
"We normally are not lacking for participants. The Hula Hoop contest is the most popular. This is something that the adults can participate in and it’s something that’s from their childhood. They are familiar with it."
Entertainment will be provided by Newport country singer Pauline Smith beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Amber Lewis, who sings modern ballads, is scheduled to take the stage at 6:30 p.m.
The perennially popular pie-eating contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Contestants in 12-and-under and 13-and-above age groups will see who can consume a nine-inch apple pie while seated at a table with their hands tied behind their backs.
"It’s a very popular event. The people are laughing. They’ve got pie all over their face and their ears. It’s comical," Brady said. "It’s competitive and people enjoy it."
At 8 p.m. the Havelock Community Band is scheduled to take the stage, providing music for about 40 minutes.
Brady said families don’t have to wait until 5 p.m. to enjoy the day at the park.
"A lot of people come out and set up picnic areas and grill food and have their own family reunion all over the park before the Freedom Festival even starts. They’re welcome to do that," Brady said. "Everyone in the surrounding areas is more than welcome to join us in our Freedom Festival. All Craven County, Carteret County and the other surrounding counties are more than welcome to participate."
There is no admission cost. Those attending are advised to bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the day in the park as well as the fireworks.
Brady said sparklers are welcome but other fireworks should be left at home. No animals or alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Traffic in the area is expected to be heavy, and Brady advises drivers to use caution.