Whoever said the world ends with a whimper and not a bang never met Aaron Weisser.
(It was T.S. Eliot, by the way)
Weisser, a pastor at Church on the Rock, has been dedicated for the last three years to making sure Homer rings in the new year with quite a bang, with a crowdfunded fireworks show. What started in 2018 as a simple way to celebrate New Year’s Eve has morphed into a much-loved community event, with hundreds flocking to the Homer Spit on the last night of the year to see Weisser’s display of big, bright lights go “boom!”
While poor weather delayed the fireworks show last year, this year’s event last Thursday went off without a hitch. Weisser said his parents counted nearly 700 cars leaving the Homer Spit after the show. Cars and trucks filled the parking spaces in Mariner Park, and lined both the Spit and Kachemak Drive.
“We also know of several who watched from boats in the bay, from the hillside, from the Friendship Terrace and from South Peninsula Hospital,” Weisser wrote in an email.
The show is crowdfunded, meaning Weisser asks the community for donations in order to buy the fireworks he and a team of people set off. This year’s effort raised $11,841 by the cutoff date, Weisser said. When discounts for buying in bulk were added, he said the total value of the fireworks set off last Thursday was about $16,000.
New this year was the addition of a Radio Music Soundtrack to go along with the fireworks, which was coordinated by Michael Becker on behalf of Peninsula Radio.
Weisser said 19 people helped put on the show by actually firing the rockets, helping people park and executing the event livestream on Facebook. All fireworks were over-the-counter, retail products, and the show included 300 3-inch mortars, as well as more than 5,000 additional shots. Weisser wrote that he saved about a third of the fireworks for the last three minutes of the show, which lasted a total of 18 minutes.
For those who missed the show, there are plenty of photos and videos on the event’s Facebook page: “Homer’s Crowdfunded New Year’s Eve Fireworks FANTASTICAL!!”