Tulalip’s Boom City offers site to use fireworks legally

TULALIP — Every year, Boom City blooms like a bottle rocket, showering the region with an overwhelming selection of some of the most colorful and dangerous fireworks that amateur pyrotechnicians can find.

And a few weeks later, the makeshift city behind Quil Ceda Village on the Tulalip Indian Reservation closes shop, with nothing but a few charred remnants and the lingering tang of gunpowder left to remind passersby of the county’s largest fireworks extravaganza.

Vendors staff rows of stalls. They know the details of everything they sell — how high it flies, the width of the shower of sparks. Some vendors travel all the way to China to hand-select the goods they’ll feature each summer.

What isn’t advertised is that many of the explosive devices Boom City sells are illegal as soon as they’re transported off the reservation. And some of the featured fireworks, such as cherry bombs, aren’t legal anywhere, not even on tribal land.

“Troopers have stopped people who have spent $500, $600, $700 on fireworks,” Washington state trooper Keith Leary said. “Whenever a trooper locates illegal fireworks, those are confiscated.”

State troopers aren’t likely to stop drivers only to search their vehicles for fireworks, but people who do manage to walk away with a collection Boom City’s wares could have trouble finding anywhere to use them, Leary said. Most cities have laws against setting them off.

People who live in areas where they can’t use fireworks legally should set them off at Boom City’s detonation area, said Carlos Echevarria, an officer with the Tulalip Police Department who patrols Quil Ceda Village.

Boom City’s detonation area has always been an open space in a dirt lot, dotted by tufts of dry, scrubby grass. This year, the area will be fenced off, and off-limits to anyone under the age of 14, Echevarria said.

“There have been safety concerns in the past because it’s been wide open and not very closely regulated,” he said. “This year, tribal police, with some security assistance, will monitor it a bit more closely.”

Boom City opened last week in a lot behind Quil Ceda Village, the tribes’ retail and casino complex. The makeshift village will welcome throngs of eager buyers until Independence Day.

Until then, 88th Street, 116th Street and other roads leading to the reservation will be clogged, Leary said. Drivers should expect backups if they’re headed to Quil Ceda Village.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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