Drone shows light up Valley skies for safe and eco-friendly celebrations – ABC30 Fresno

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VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — Something different lit up the sky this Fourth of July in Visalia.
For the first time ever, the City of Visalia held a drone show instead of fireworks.
Thanks to a grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, they were able to celebrate Independence Day with this more environmentally friendly option.
"We are excited about this, we appreciate it, we received a grant to help fund this event for tonight. In the past we have received complaints from veterans and locals about the loud noise and obviously the air quality. So we are excited to try something new to bring this concept and the drone show to our community," says Brett Taylor, Vice Mayor for the City of Visalia.
The city says about five-Thousand people showed up on Wednesday evening to enjoy local festivities, music and to watch the show.
This year, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has awarded $850,000 to help 25 local agencies replace their fireworks show with a drone show.
Including City of Visalia, Visalia Rawhide, Exeter Lions Club, a show in Madera and several shows in Fresno.
Spokesperson Cassandra Melching says this change is positive since drone shows eliminate fire risk and air pollution.
"Fireworks shows put out a lot of pollution. It's really harmful for air quality. There's a lot of toxic chemicals and bad Pm, 2, 5. That's in those fireworks, and so to pivot from that and move to drone shows we're super excited because, you know, it's not impeding the air quality," mentions Cassandra.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District covers 8 Central California counties
The change will impact thousands of locals, including those with pre-existing lung conditions.
And especially younger children and elders.
"It's really important. Especially right now is a critical time. We have fires that are currently burning up in our foothills and mountain areas," explains Cassandra.
Although grants for drone shows is still a pilot program, The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says they hope to continue supporting drone shows in the future.
To learn more about the grant visit here and for new grants visit here.
For news updates, follow Kassandra Gutierrez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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