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Friday night fireworks poised to return to Waikiki if permit granted

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Friday night fireworks off the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort may soon return in what could be seen as another sign of recovery from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics Inc. operated the aerial display off the Hilton for more than 25 years before the start of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020. Bruce Albrecht, operations manager for the Keeau-based company, said the last fireworks show there was March 13, 2020.

With the expiration of the state’s last remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including masking requirements, on March 25, Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics filed a request with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a renewal of its right-of-entry for a portion of Duke Kahanamoku Beach for set-up and firing of fireworks on 52 Fridays starting May 27.

The matter is on the agenda for Friday’s BLNR meeting. If approved, Albrecht said it’s more likely the shows would resume in early June to allow for adequate preparation.

“We’re hoping by the first week in June. I know a lot of people have been waiting for it,” he said.

The weekly Hilton fireworks show accounts for about 40% of the 120 to 130 events conducted annually by Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics, according to Albrecht.

The right-of-entry request involves the use of a 500-square-foot area on Duke Kahanamoku Beach near the former helipad from 4 to 9 p.m. each Friday. The company would pay the state $250 per event.

Albrecht pointed out the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort pays for the weekly fireworks shows, which have been enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

While emphasizing his company’s request has yet to be approved, he said, “I’m just looking forward to getting back to work and bringing the show back. We really enjoy doing it for the community. The Hilton looks at it as a community event; it’s something they can give back.”

A Hilton spokesperson said the resort would withhold comment until BLNR takes action on the matter.

In the meantime, fireworks fans on Friday can enjoy the second of five aerial displays by Albrecht’s outfit for a corporate convention at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The first fireworks show went off Wednesday night.

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