4th of July fireworks barge loaded on Lake Union

by: Jeff Dubois Updated:

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SEATTLE —

Crank up the Fourth of July fun, the countdown is on.

This is the first year Seattle's legendary Lake Union Independence Day celebration is organized by Seafair.

The longtime producer of the fireworks show cancelled the celebration in April because of a problem finding sponsors.

Seafair, along with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, stepped in and saved the show from going up in smoke.

"A lot of people ought to take their hat off. They put in a lot of effort to make this happen," said Bob Gobet, whose company got a call late this spring to throw together a 4th of July fireworks show for Lake Union.

For years, his Oregon-based company ran the rival Ivar's fireworks displays over Elliott Bay, so he was up for the challenge.

On Wednesday, workers started loading thousands of shells for Thursday night's show, which will be run by a state-of-the-art wireless computer system -- the same computer system that orchestrated the lights and pyrotechnics show for last year's opening ceremonies at the London Olympics.

>>> Find photos of the preparations for Seafair Summer Fourth here

"There's no cables to run. It's all transmitted on a radio signal," said Gobet. "Thirteen computers are set out on the deck."

The 20-minute, musically choreographed show will start around 10:15 p.m. and will be the explosive finale to a day of festivities at Gasworks Park, which promises to have a Seafair spin.

In addition to the traditional kid's activities, live music, food booths, and beer garden, the Seafair Clowns and Pirates will also make appearances.

The gates open at noon on Thursday, and the entire fireworks show will be broadcast on KIRO 7 and kirotv.com 9-11 p.m.