Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Fireworks, music and food will once again be offered at Lake Murray on July 4, but it may be a somewhat slimmed down effort compared to last year — unless there is a sudden rush of donations and sponsors.
The fundraising goal to put on the festival is the same as last year — $75,000. The committee raised a little more than that in 2017, because the fight to return the fireworks after several years of absence caught the imagination of donors, both corporate and public.
However, for whatever reasons, that isn’t happening nearly as well this year.
Rob Hotz is working to turn that around, but it’s slow going.
“I can’t understand why we’re having trouble,” Hotz said. “Everyone says the economy is in better shape now than it was last year, but we’ve lost several of the corporate donors we had last year, and no one is really stepping up to replace them. We also are not getting nearly the public response we got from residents in the San Carlos and La Mesa. We got 385 personal checks from people last year, but so far only 237 checks this year. We’re still hand-delivering flyers to residences in the area. We’ll eventually place 14,000 appeal flyers on doorsteps.”
Organizers of the event are suggesting a donation of $50 per household, although any amount is appreciated, according to fundraising material. Neighbors that plan on going to the fireworks and music festival that donate will go a long way, but small, individual donations are not the only issue event organizers are dealing with.
“Where it’s really biting is in the corporate amounts,” Hotz said, adding that there are considerably less sponsors for this year’s event.
According to the event website, available corporate sponsorships range from $500 to $7,500 and come with a variety of perks, including booth spaces, mentions during the event, logos placed on event material, framed certificate of sponsorship and more.
“We can still accept corporate sponsors for the next few weeks before we need to have banners go to print,” Hotz said. “So now’s the time if anyone has a business who would like to get involved.”
Sponsorship packages are available at lakemurrayfireworks.org.
As of June 1, the total amount raised for the event from all sources is just over $60,000.
There was a small reserve of funding left over from 2017, but the committee really doesn’t want to have to throw that into the pot here — that would leave the committee pretty much flat broke for 2019, without seed money to even start planning for next year.
Hotz pointed out that the expenses of putting on the show have risen from last year. City fees have gone up. Police and fire fees are higher. The public made it clear last year that more porta-potties and handwashing stations were needed.
It all adds up to more upfront expenses than the committee faced in 2017 — something they hadn’t really anticipated.
There is no doubt there will be a festival with fireworks and music from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the July 4. This year’s music lineup includes The Bayou Brothers (Cajun zydeco), The Revival Band (Allman Brothers tribute), Freeze Frame (80’s hits), and Sensation Showband (variety). There will also be a number of food vendors there — nine of them at last count.
The fireworks will still be launched from a barge on the lake and will be viewable from San Carlos and La Mesa. The show will deffinately go on. But unless the fundraising situation turns around, it could be a slightly stripped-down version of last year’s event.
If you’re motivated to donate or to help, you can do it by contacting the committee at lakemurrayfireworks.org. There is also a Gofundme page at gofundme.com/lakemurrayfireworks. If you want to donate money, hurry, there’s not much time left.
In addition to financial help, the fireworks festival committee is also seeking volunteers to help with cleanup after the event. A Lake Murray Family Cleanup Day will be held on July 5, starting at around 8 a.m. Volunteers will work one to two hours tops with coffee and donuts and water provided. Contact the committee through the website.
— Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.