Boom City: We are all family out here

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News  

A loud explosion shakes the ground followed by a rapturous cheer from the many onlookers who are there to sell and buy fireworks. Boom City is a glorious aspect of Tulalip tradition wrapped inside indelible interactions. People from all around come to the infamous firework haven in Tulalip, Washington to gather their needs and wants for the Fourth of July. 

Tulalip tribal members from all facets of life try their skills at selling fireworks. From seasonal workers like fisherman and teachers, to police officers, construction workers, and people with desk jobs, all take to the lot behind the Tulalip Casino for a chance at creating some revenue. 

“Every year, I never count the money until the end. If I look up and there’s still fireworks on the shelf then that tells me I need to keep selling,” said Tony Hatch, Tulalip tribal member and owner of The Family Packs stand. “All I want is to be able to pay my mortgage for a month and pay my workers plus take my family out for a great meal like steak and lobster, followed by a movie. If I can do that then it has been a good season.”

One of the main aspects of Boom City is the coming together of family and friends. Scott Rehaume, stand assistant for firework retailer Up in Smoke, stated, “We are all family out here!” An emphasis repeated during the firework season, as compatriots help with heavy lifting, watching other’s stands so they can use the restroom or get food, and looking after each other’s kids as they run around from stand to stand visiting with different relatives. 

Tribal member and stand owner Eliza Davis spoke on the many benefits the youth have by participating in the business of selling fireworks. “Boom City gives them an inside glimpse on what it takes to run a business. They learn about procurement, accounting, they learn about just being a hard worker. It’s not always easy to get up and go down there but you push through. It’s really good practical skills that will serve them in their lives.”

“I think that it helps the kids get out of the box. It pushes them to be more open and build their confidence,” Scott voiced as he watched his nephew help a customer. “When we show our youth that they can do more it helps them grow.”

While you’re at Boom City, friendships can sprout out of anywhere. “I like meeting new people all the time, and to make friends with them, that’s kind of the most fun for me.” said Jon Moses, tribal member and worker for the Monty Hall stand. “I like giving all these kids a thrill when they get their fireworks. You can see the excitement in their eyes.” 

For many stand owners all the lifting, pulling, and staying on your feet begin to slow them down as the Fourth comes near. When asked what they look forward to at after closing, tribal member and stand owner of The Price is Right, Nik-Ko-Te St. Onge said, “Going home, hanging out with my family and having a firework show.” One of many traditions stand owners like to do after selling fireworks for the Boom City season. 

“Everybody needs to celebrate the Fourth of July,” Tony smiled and remarked, as a thunderous bang filled the air. “What’s a barbeque without fireworks on the Fourth!”

Boom City is open from 6:00am to 12:00am 7 days a week until July 4th and is located behind the Tulalip Resort and Casino, 10274 27th Ave NE, Tulalip WA.