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Published on: May 2022
drone show announcement


The shift aligns with the region’s commitment to sustainability and stewardship, and addresses community concerns related to fire risk and environmental impacts.

NORTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (March 31, 2022) – After a two-year Independence Day fireworks hiatus to reduce COVID-19 transmission, North Lake Tahoe will resume its celebrations this year in a new way. The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, North Tahoe Business Association and Tahoe City Downtown Association announced today that drone light shows will be part of the Independence Day celebrations on July 3 in Kings Beach and July 4 in Tahoe City in place of traditional pyrotechnic fireworks displays.

“Celebrating Independence Day with entertaining light shows continues to be important to our communities, however our priority is to balance that intention with the need to take care of Lake Tahoe and reduce the risks that lit fireworks pose,” said Tony Karwowski, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association CEO. “The decision to move forward with drone light shows in Kings Beach and Tahoe City has widespread community support and is well aligned with our region’s commitment to environmental sustainability and destination stewardship. We are excited to support something new, and will gather community feedback after the shows to determine the level of satisfaction with the new celebration.”

The drone light shows, coordinated by professional aerial starlight production vendor Great Lakes Drone Company, will feature custom performances up to 15 minutes in length and choreographed to music. Both will take place over Lake Tahoe, with over 100 drones taking off from and returning to shore at the conclusion of the shows. The shows will be just one part of the events and activities planned in North Lake Tahoe in celebration of the July 4 holiday.

“After two years without fireworks, the North Lake Tahoe business community expressed their desire to bring back a responsible way to celebrate Independence Day,” said NTBA executive director, Alyssa Reilly. “Our staff and Board felt this was the right time to put our community first by prioritizing sustainability, fire safety and local wildlife. We look forward to our inaugural drone show in Kings Beach, and to spending the holiday with our residents and visitors.”

“Fireworks come with their own list of known environmental impacts—including noise pollution, impacts to the lake, and increased risk of fire at a time when the wildfire risk is already so high. Our Board weighed the risks and decided to make a change to a drone light show in an effort to protect and preserve the place that we all love to live, work, play and visit,” said Katie Biggers, TCDA executive director. “We join other mountain communities across the west who have also sought out new ways to celebrate, and look forward to continuing to light up the lake—but with an eco-friendly alternative to fireworks.”

In addition to eliminating the risk of fire and environmental pollution in the lake and watershed, another significant benefit of the drone light shows is their reduced audio impact on domestic pets and local wildlife.

Utilizing a combination of TOT and TBID dollars, the shows are made possible by a presenting sponsorship from the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and will be produced by the two local business associations. The drone light shows will take place at the Kings Beach State Recreation Area on July 3 in collaboration with the North Tahoe Business Association, and at Commons Beach in Tahoe City on July 4 in partnership with the Tahoe City Downtown Association.