After finally starting to resume somewhat normal activities following the COVID-19 quarantine, many people have the upcoming 4th of July weekend circled on their calendar.
Along with the holiday comes fireworks and two of the biggest celebration events in the region, coordinated by Brady Baskin, owner Brady’s Stockpile O’ Fireworks.
Baskin has been in fireworks sales since 2005 and has coordinated the mega-show held annually the night of July 4 at the Choctaw Casino and Resort for the past seven years, getting bigger and better each time.
He also took over responsibility of the annual Lake Texoma show that is set for July 3.
While things have been forced to adjust business-wise due to the pandemic, he admitted with the early calls and response received that he and his crew are expecting the biggest fireworks season in recent memory.
"Different places have different things in place for social distancing, but everything should be like normal for us," Baskin admitted. "What we have noticed this year because of COVID, it seems like lot of people in our area have been getting out in the outdoors more and relaxing outside - kind of experiencing stuff that lot of older people experienced when they were kids. I’ve talked to boat, RV and jet ski salespeople that have said they are having all-time high sales numbers. It’s hard to even find spots to go camping right now.
"People have been cooped up for so long they are ready to go out and celebrate, and I feel like a lot of people (are) in a physical place ready to shoot off fireworks."
Baskin’s firework display productions have increased each year with 10 shows on tap during a six-day span this time around. During that time frame, he has a roughly 12-person crew that works almost around the clock to provide the entertainment.
Recent wet conditions, however, have also helped decrease the fire danger just in time for the holiday weekend.
"The good thing is that with recent rains there is very minimal fire hazards this year," he commented, "and with the 4th on a Saturday, I expect it to be one of biggest and busiest years since I’ve been doing this."
The Choctaw Resort and Lake Texoma shows have become extremely elaborate productions that sync with music provided by local radio stations, and this year is no different.
MIX 96.1 will broadcast patriot music during the Lake Texoma event, and KLBC 106.3 will broadcast with music timed to the fireworks during the Choctaw Resort show.
Baskin admits that seven years ago, when he first started with the production, that the 30-minute spectacular would evolve into the biggest firework show between Dallas and Oklahoma City.
"It’s really amazing to think from where we started," he said. "We probably have 20 hours of work put into designing the show. It takes about 12 hours to get the set up done and four hours to tear it down. It is quite the undertaking every year.
"The show is usually fast-paced, and this year we have a finale on tap that should leave people shell-shocked. It’s going to be insane."