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Drones save the day amid Beaver Valley fire ban

First of its kind in the Kootenays goes Friday in Fruitvale
Beaver Valley May Days will feature a show of 180 drones flying 260 feet in the air. Each drone is fitted with bright color- changing LED lights. Photo: Beaver Valley May Days/Facebook

Who needs fireworks when you can have a drone show?

With fire bans being enforced earlier each year, instead of a bang to open Beaver Valley May Days, this year it’ll be the buzz of 180 drones flying overhead, each fitted with colour-changing LEDs.

“Our Beaver Valley May Days board of directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the May Days annual fireworks show for the foreseeable future,” Mike Hudson, Beaver Valley May Days Society president, told the Trail Times.

“Dry weather conditions and fire bans have become a common road block for our May Days dates each year, last year we barely made the exemption after a fire ban was put in place a week before May Days began.”

After consulting with regional Fire Chief Dan Derby, and being informed there would be no exemption given for fireworks, Hudson says the committee had no choice but to cancel pyrotechnics.

“This ties our hands to put on a great show for the community, but for the right reasons to protect our community and local residents from a potential incident,” Hudson furthers. “The increase in environmental impacts, licensing and requirements along with helping our neighbors with the safety of their pets and livestock, it felt like the right thing to do.”

No worries though, the drone show will likely become the new May Days highlight.

“We decided that we needed to bring up a show to fill its place, since fireworks are such a favorite, and the replacement needed to be awesome,” Hudson continues.

“After searching for something amazing we came across a drone show. These shows are taking place of fireworks shows all over Canada and the U.S. and we will probably see this as a sign of things to come as many communities look to change.”

Beaver Valley May Days is working with Pixel Sky Animations, a Vancouver business that services events across the country.

“They have been an amazing company to work with and they recognize these smaller events, and the non-profits that put them on, and offer pricing to reflect that,” Hudson explains.

“This will be the first drone show of its kind in the Kootenays and we are super excited that it was Beaver Valley May Days that could bring it here.”

Hudson says they’ve seen thousands of positive hits on social media and excitement about the show.

“We are expecting a very big crowd so come early, enjoy some food, snacks and popcorn, watch a movie or enjoy some live music by amazing local bands and get your spot for the drone show.”

Opening night of Beaver Valley May Days starts at 4 p.m. Friday (May 24) at Fruitvale Memorial Park (formerly Haines Park). The drone show starts at 10 p.m., and lasts about 18 minutes.

To see all May Days goings-on visit:

Sheri Regnier

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