DIY Fireworks Show @ Boom City

A fireworks mosh pit 🧨

📸: Mortar Area, Boom City, Tulalip Reservation | Katie Kurtz

⏰ Daily through July 4th • 6 pm to midnight
📍 @ Tulalip Reservation | 10274 27th Ave NE, Tulalip, WA 98271

Besides the rows of hand-painted wood sheds emblazoned with graphics and names like Tulalip Bears, PurpleHaze, and Louie Louie, the first thing you see when you pull into the Boom City parking lot is a giant traffic sign flashing alternating messages: LIGHTING HERE ONLY and LIGHT AT OWN RISK

While most fireworks are illegal throughout Washington State, tribal sovereignty allows for sales on reservations. Directly west of Marysville, the Tulalip Reservation is the closest to Seattle, where fireworks can also be set off on-site. Home to Boom City since the early 1980s, around 100 enrolled Tulalip families run stands that sell everything from family-friendly fountains and poppers to giant three-foot-high assortment packs of every variety of loud, colorful, and sparkly firework you could desire. (Pro-tip: the more money you spend, the likelier you are to get freebies thrown in.)

Next to the flashing traffic sign and parking lot is a large designated area to light off Roman candles, mortars, and aerials. About the size of a city block, the field functions more or less as a fireworks mosh pit, with smoke billowing continuously as high-decibel pyrotechnics shake the ground. It’s easy to miss the spray-painted cardboard MORTAR AREA sign propped about 100 yards into the field—especially once it gets dark—but that’s where you go to light off your heaviest explosives.

Obviously, the family friendliness of Boom City is up to the discretion of the family. The Tulalip Tribal Police has increased its presence over years past, the parking area has been moved farther away from the ordinance field, and safety reminders are given regularly. There’s also a “kids area” blocked off from the rest of the field.  

If you’re looking for an alternative to jockeying for a spot at Gas Works Park on the 4th, the Saturday before the 4th is the busiest here, with a near-constant barrage of fireworks. Bring earplugs, though, and light at your own risk. 

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An author pic for Katie Kurtz. She wears large rectangular glasses and has a black blouse on.

Katie Kurtz

Katie Kurtz grew up in Seattle and has been writing about West Coast art and culture since the early ’90s. When she’s not lamenting the loss of her teenaged haunts, she can be found playing pinball, losing cell phone service in the woods, or surfing microfiche as one of Seattle Public Library’s 2023 writers-in-residence.