Folks in Rankin Inlet turned out in droves to watch one of the most impressive firework displays ever to ring in the new year in the community on Dec. 31.
Rankin Fire Chief Mark Wyatt said the fireworks display went as planned and everyone seemed to really enjoy the show.
He said David Clark and Cody Tulugak of the hamlet’s recreation department lent a helping hand to make the fire department’s initiative another rousing success.
“The crowd seemed to really love the fireworks show, and the parade we held to help ring in the new year seemed to be a bit longer than normal,” said Wyatt.
“It’s something our department looks forward to putting together each year and it just seems to keep getting a little bit better.
“This year we also decided to initiate a photo contest to go along with the fireworks display for a number of different reasons, primarily because we like to see lots of great pictures of the fireworks because when we’re sitting there actually doing it, we don’t have the opportunity to take photos of it.
“We had more than 400 people post photos on Facebook and the three winners were picked based on the number of likes they received.”
The three winners in the contest were Allysha Sateana Tologanak in first ($500), Sara Taparti in second ($300) and Amanda Eecherk in third ($200).
Wyatt said it was nice to see so many people take part in both the parade and fireworks display to ring in the new year.
He said there’s little doubt all the lockdowns and restrictions the hamlet has dealt with during the past 10 months had a lot to do with the large turnouts for the two events.
“I think people just needed to get out and it was nice to be able to do the fireworks for them this year.
“We were one of the only companies to actually purchase fireworks from our supplier down south this year, so they were quite happy to get an order or two.
“Normally there are hundreds of shows happening across the country on New Year’s Eve, but there weren’t too many communities that put on a fireworks show this year.”
Wyatt said $5,000 is spent on the Rankin fireworks show for Dec. 31 every year, which, he added, is a pretty good deal for what the department receives for its money.
He said about 75 three-inch shells were used in the show, as well as 43 two-inch shells and 28 four-inch shells.
“They’re all pretty dazzling because we combine them for the show.
“Each cake you have might have anywhere between 30 to 100 shots in it and that’s all lit at once.
“So, often we’ll do those and fire three-inch shots over top so that it creates more of a dazzling spectacle for the community.
“The higher up the shell the more powerful the yield, so the four-inch shells are the largest we use.”
Safety precautions taken
Wyatt said there were seven five members of the fire department on the ground for the show.
He said the biggest safety precautions taken to ensure a safe show are to ensure all the fireworks are tied properly so that they fire, and that the mortars, especially the larger mortars, are all anchored to the ground so that they don’t topple over.
“We put a lot of plywood down and secure all of the cakes in place. The mortars are all secured onto three-quarter-inch plywood so that they’re not going to slip.
“Down south you can bury the cakes in sand and stuff like that but, up here, we’re on a frozen lake, so the setup is fairly intricate in terms of all the plywood that has to go into setting it up and prepping all of the cakes in advance so that they’re not going to shift on top of the plywood.
“It’s still a bit of a work in progress but the shows seem to keep getting just a little bit better every time out.”