Mission Bay raising funds to revive its Fourth of July firework show

The 2010 fireworks show in Mission Bay
The 2010 fireworks show as seen by people on boats and beaches around the part of Mission Bay between Paradise and Bahia Points.
(Peggy Peattie/San Diego Union-Tribune Publishi)

Mission Bay Yacht Club is looking to bring back the time-honored tradition


Members of Mission Bay Yacht Club have launched a fundraiser to bring back the bay’s traditional waterfront firework show this Fourth of July.

“As a resident of Crown Point, I know we all miss coming together as a community with our friends and family to enjoy some sparkle in the sky at the end of a fun Fourth of July day,” said Kathy Dryden, the club’s rear commodore.

For nearly 30 years, the fireworks, set off from a barge on the water at the center of Sail Bay, lit up the night sky each summer, gathering droves of people on boats and nearby beaches to “ooh” and “ahh” at the show.

“As long as I can remember from being a little girl, we had fireworks,” Dryden said. “It’s was a big deal. Everybody would come down to the club. It was one of our most fun traditions.”

When the cost became too much for the club’s budget in 2012, the show went dark. Now, the club is working to revive it.

The club is contributing $20,000, but still needs to raise $40,000 to make the show come to life this year, Dryden said.

The funds would cover the purchase of the fireworks, the rental of a barge to launch them from and the cost of securing the necessary permits, Dryden added.

For Mission Bay resident Warren Underwood, it’s a time-honored tradition he says he hopes to see return.

“I’ve lived in the area since I was a young man, and I remember taking my kids to the fireworks show each year,” said Underwood, now 84. “I only hope I’ll have the chance to take my grandkids and great-grandkids, too.”

On Mission Bay a barge in front of Paradise Point Resort fired off fireworks
A barge on Mission Bay in front of Paradise Point Resort fired off fireworks in 2007.
(Sean M. Haffey/San Diego Union-Tribune via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The first Fourth of July fireworks shows began on the banks of Mission Bay in 1983 before it was relocated to an on-the-water launch point for safety reasons in 1987, recalled Marshall Nemoy, longtime club member.

“After every finale went off, people that were in boats were honking horns, people on the shores were giving big cheers,” Nemoy said. “It was very popular.”

Nemoy and John Leppert, another longtime club member, were in charge of the fireworks show for many years, Nemoy said.

Before Leppert died in the early 2000s, Nemoy says, he told Nemoy: “Whatever you do, keep that firework show going — it’s the one thing the club can say it does for everybody on the bay.”

Now Nemoy and Dryden hope to be able to do just that with the help of the community.

The deadline to raise funds is March 31. Thus far, the club has raised $3,000 of the $40,000 needed to fund the firework show via a GoFundMe.

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