Fortuna Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Fortuna Fireworks Festival

This is a press release from the Fortuna Fireworks Festival:

As Fortuna celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Fortuna Fireworks Festival we will honor our fallen founder Dennis Wendt. Dennis first started the 3rd of July event about 15 years ago when he invited Wendt Construction employees and their families to Newburg Park to play softball, barbeque, and enjoy fireworks. Because of liability concerns, the city eventually mandated that the fireworks display be performed by a licensed pyrotechnical company.

Towards the end of June in 2008, Dennis was quick to get on the phone and convince the same Pyro company that was going to be doing the display at Benbow on the 4th of July, to come to Fortuna on the 3rd. He quickly made a few calls to get some help putting together an event and in less than three weeks the whole thing was organized!

Dennis Wendt’s vision for the Fortuna Fireworks Festival was simple, he wanted to make sure that kids in the community could enjoy the festivities even if their parents couldn’t afford to buy fireworks. Dennis wanted families to be able to come celebrate our nations freedom, regardless of cost, and he enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces of kids and adults alike. That first year only a few hundred people showed up. This year, as we are celebrating the 10th year of the official Fortuna Fireworks Festival, it has grown to be one of the largest events in town.

The festival has been committed to keeping the vision Dennis had alive by keeping the cost of the festival as low as possible. The event is only able to do this thanks to the continuing support of so many businesses and residents who donate to the cost of the fireworks. Without their generosity, the event would not be possible. Wendt Construction is still very involved in organizing and donating labor and equipment to make sure all the logistics are taken care of and an all-volunteer committee continues to organize it.

Many locals will forever have fond memories of Dennis laughing to tears watching the pie eating contest and smiling while he watched the kids run around enjoying the event with friends. This year Pyro Spectaculars has donated a tribute to honor Dennis at the end of the show, so please remove your hats with us and celebrate the wonderful gift that is the Fortuna Fireworks Festival!

Event Details:

Celebrate Independence Day a little early in Friendly Fortuna on Tuesday July 3rd from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. An evening full of low cost Family Fun is scheduled to take place at this year’s tenth annual Fortuna Fireworks Festival. The festival includes a BBQ, Music, Fireworks, Vendors, an apple pie eating contest and tons of kid’s activities.

Fortuna invites the public to come out and celebrate Independence Day without the usual festival price tag. The festival is free to attend. For kids wanting to enjoy the entertainment they must be accompanied by an adult and have a parent or guardian sign a liability waiver in exchange for a $5 wristband that allows unlimited activities on two huge fields from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Wrist band activities will include 16 bounce houses, Shriners clowns and balloon art, Nature Joe will have a reptile petting zoo with all things creepy & crawly and the MGC will be there painting faces. The Fortuna Fire Department will be hosting their popular kids Firemen style challenges on the grass and doing rides around the park on their mini firetruck. New this year is the field of inflatables! There will be huge body bumper balls, human hamster wheels and hop ball races. DJ Ryan with Tah-Dah productions will be there spinning tunes throughout the event, then after dark falls it’s time for a light show that kicks off the biggest out door dance party on the North Coast to entertain the crowd before the fireworks.

The Annual apple pie eating contest will start at 7 pm in front of the main stage. Fortuna businesses, service clubs and community groups will have an opportunity to eat a whole pie, full face in, for the trophy made and donated by Cindy at Ferndale Jewelers.

Various vendors will be on hand to sell their stuff as well as sweet treats like cotton candy, candy apples, fresh made mini donuts, shaved ice and more

A Family BBQ from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm will be put on by the Native Sons of the Golden West. A beer booth serving an all Fortuna Eel River Brewery selection will also be on tap with all proceeds going towards the cost of the event. This year’s menu will include tender seasoned Tri-Tip or barbecued chicken plates with potato salad, watermelon, corn on the cob and a dinner roll and will be available for $10 each. Kids can enjoy a hot dog plate with chips and watermelon for $5. Make your dinner plans now and help support the event.

Fireworks will start at dark. Parking is available on Rohnerville Road just past Newburg Park in the McLean Field. The fireworks festival is requesting a $5 donation to help with the cost of the fireworks, but no one will be turned away if they choose not to donate. Because of the festivities, there will be no general parking in the Newburg Parking lot. Handicap parking is available in both the McLean lot as well as along the fence line behind EPT.

Everyone is encouraged to bring your own chairs, blanket, or sit in the bleachers. Feel free to bring your own legal fireworks, but for everyone’s safety, they must be lit on the pavement, behind the stage in the main parking lot. Please no lighting them in any grass areas due to the large volume of small children. We are also not allowing hot BBQs or pets in to the event.

We ask all those who attend the event to please use the provided garbage cans and recycling receptacles and to help by cleaning up any trash they bring to keep the park beautiful.

The Fortuna Fireworks Festival is only made possible by the generous donations from the community through sponsorship’s allowing the kids activities to stay incredibly affordable, to pay for the fireworks and other costs associated with putting on the event. The all-volunteer organizers mission is to provide the community with an affordable family friendly event that celebrates our nations independence.

So please join us in the Friendly City as we light up the Eel River Valley skies and celebrate our Countries Independence Day.

For more information email or visit us on Facebook!



  • Are those the caged children I’ve been hearing about? 😉

    • That humour(?) fell pretty flat.
      The celebration of the birth of our nation of immigrants is a lousy time to bring up our current disgraceful treatment of immigrant children.

      • A symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome is a lack of any sense of humor. But that’s ok. Our nation was founded by people willing to fight for everyone’s right to say what they will free from government intervention.

        “Nation of immigrants” huh? There is nothing sacred about immigrant status as every single person in North American came from somewhere else. Humanity simply did not originate here. It is a pretty poor lever to guilt people into saying nothing about enforcing their own laws for their own benefit, showing that emotional blackmail is the only argument to be had from the left.

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    Celebrating Independence day on July 3rd is like going to church on the day /after/ the Sabbath – convenient!

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