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Unalaska Will Have Fourth Of July Fireworks, Despite Death Of Longtime Pyrotechnician

Berett Wilber

This summer, Unalaska will have fireworks on the Fourth of July.

That news follows fears earlier this month that there'd be no holiday display after the death of Larry Mattingly, the city's longtime pyrotechnician. Mattingly was in his late 70s when he died in February. 

Planning Director Bil Homka said the city is signing a $31,000 contract with a new provider, Utah-based Lantis Fireworks & Lasers.

With Independence Day about a month away, Homka said the company's "significant experience" in Alaska will ensure the show goes on. It has produced shows in Anchorage, Seward, and several other communities in the state. 

This isn't the first time Unalaska has had to scramble for its pyrotechnics display. In 2016 and 2014, the city had to put out new bids for the biannual shows on the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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