LIVERMORE -- Pop! Hiss! Boom! Livermore's Fourth of July fireworks are moving downtown for 2014.
Keeping a community tradition alive, city officials are finalizing details for a "cake show" -- a low-altitude pyrotechnics display visible from parking lots, homes and viewing areas near the Bankhead Theater.
"What we're envisioning is a very intimate downtown show," said Stephan Kiefer, Livermore's community economic development director. "It's essentially a lot of low-level fireworks happening all at once."
The event, featuring smaller-size fireworks shot from the roof of the parking garage near Railroad Avenue and First Street, is being conceived in conjunction with Livermore Downtown Inc. The nonprofit's executive director, Rachael Snedecor, said moving the show downtown would keep restaurants and bars open and encourage residents to gather in the heart of the city for the holiday.
"The Fourth of July is a tradition of (being) outside," Snedecor said. "We feel like we're creating a connection."
Snedecor said she expects about 6,000 attendees and suggested residents walk, bike or ride the bus due to limited parking downtown. Preliminary plans for the festivities include music and activities for children on the lawn at Bankhead Plaza for free starting around 6 p.m.
"We feel really excited about it," Snedecor said. "We're going to have the businesses involved. Our challenge is that we've got six weeks to plan this."
The Livermore City Council reinstituted the city's fireworks show in 2012. Previously, it has been held at Las Positas College but has failed to generate enough revenue to sustain it.
The council has agreed to contribute $25,000 in general fund dollars for the show, in addition to the cost of added police and fire resources. The city is also considering a citizens committee to figure out how to raise funds for future shows. Livermore Downtown Inc. is picking up the tab for security and other infrastructure. The nonprofit presented the idea to the council on April 28.
In response to safety concerns over the fireworks' "fallout zone," Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Chief Jim Miguel said he was confident the pyrotechnics would be safe, given the lack of combustibles in the area, historical wind patterns and the smaller mortar size compared to fireworks seen at sports stadiums.
"It's not the hazard it's made out to be," Miguel said. "These (fireworks) are extremely safe."
Council member and former fire Chief Stewart Gary, who helped scout the event's location, said he considered the event a worthwhile pursuit.
"I'm not personally willing to give up the idea that Livermore can have some kind of family, patriotic Fourth of July event," Gary said. "We've come out of the recession, and I think the community deserves to have some fun."
A larger, regional fireworks show is planned for the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.