Folks in Rankin Inlet were treated to another stellar fireworks display to ring in the new year this past Dec. 31, thanks to the efforts of the Rankin Inlet Fire Department.
The event was the sixth fireworks display overseen by Fire Chief Mark Wyatt, who has been with the Rankin department for more than seven years and plans to continue to serve the community for the foreseeable future.
The community was doing family-type fireworks when Wyatt got involved and upgraded the annual show to a commercial display.
He said he had been involved with firework displays for 10 years in the south, and brought a trainer to Rankin Inlet who originally certified three members of the fire department and two from the hamlet’s recreation department.
He said, this year, recreation wasn’t able to take part and the show became the sole responsibility of the fire department, with he, deputy fire chief George Aksadjuak and two others taking care of the display.
“I don’t know if this year was our best show ever because we had some issues with some of the cakes, but we were running four-inch mortars over three-inch mortars so it looked impressive,” said Wyatt. “And the weather was beautiful this year at -14 C with no wind.
“We’ve had some years down there (Williamson Lake) where it was -35 C, and it’s not nearly as much fun doing the show in those conditions.
“This year’s New Year’s Eve parade we did was also the biggest I’ve ever seen here.”
A huge and animated crowd took in this year’s fireworks display.
Wyatt said with Covid limiting the festivities for a few years, people were really happy to get out to this year’s show.
He said there was a feeling of life being back to normal in the community with a huge crowd taking in the annual display.
“We budgeted about $6,000 for the show this year and I can say that the shows we do up here are really first class compared to the rest of the country.
“The show is a source of pride for our department, which just keeps getting busier and busier every year, especially with medical calls, which are the majority of what we do.
“We responded to 846 calls in 2022. Our biggest year before that was the previous year, 2021, when we responded to 674 calls.
“Sometimes we have eight or nine calls a day – 10 on Dec. 30 – so we have a lot of dedicated, unpaid volunteers in this department.”