Lake Murray fireworks a success

Posted: July 13th, 2018 | Featured, Top Stories | No Comments

Doug Curlee | Editor at Large

July 4 was a good night at Lake Murray.

Several weeks ago, there had been serious doubt the Lamke Murray Fireworks and MusicFest celebration — a daylong music concert culminating in the pyrotechnic display — would even happen.

A traditional sack race (Photo by Brett Alan Photography)

Fundraising had not gone well, and many large donors who made last year’s party happen didn’t show up this time.

“We need about $75,000 to make it happen,” said Rob Hotz at the time. He’s one of the hardworking committee people who puts the event together.

But somehow, it came together — $77,500 dollars came through GoFundMe and other donations, and several businesses who were new to the mix came through in the pinch.

Several of those were from La Mesa, which came as a pleasant surprise to Hotz.

“We knew a lot of people from La Mesa came last year, and we figured it’d catch on there with some businesses. It apparently did,” he said.

A major contributor to the fundraising effort is Stormburg Orthodontics, a San Carlos dental practice that pitched in the $15,000 to be the title sponsor for the event.

Miss La Mesa and Miss Teen La Mesa join in a tug-of-war. (Photo by Brett Alan Photography)

Dr. Kurt Stornburg says it was a no-brainer for his office.

“This community is where most of our patients come from, and giving back to the community is only good practice,” he said. “We donate to other things as well, but this is important to the community. No doubt we’ll be back again next year.”

The concert started at 11 a.m., and ran right through until the 9 p.m. scheduled fireworks display.

Organizers of the event and the nine food vendors said the morning and afternoon crowds may have been a little smaller than last year, but that things began to pick up as evening approached.

A brilliant fireworks display over Lake Murray (Photo by Brett Alan Photography)


By the time the fireworks touched off, Ron Hotz figures there were 10,000 people there to watch and cheer — many of whom had parked as far away as Patrick Henry High School. That is a very long walk.

In addition to seeing more funding for the Lake Murray fireworks come from La Mesa, extra security was also donated to the event by the La Mesa Police Department, which provided their services free of charge.

Additional La Mesa involvement was demonstrated by the appearance of two very attractive and dynamic young ladies — Miss La Mesa, Kelli Loper and Miss Teen La Mesa, Kennedy Dirken.

I caught the two of them at the start and finish line for the children’s pillowcase sack races.

Couldn’t resist asking Loper if they knew they’d be doing this when they won their titles.

“No, not really,” she replied, “but what we mainly do is raise donations for things — and we’re really good at that.”

Might want to put them on the team for next year’s fundraising.

We’ll know in August whether there’s enough money to seed the effort for next year’s celebration.

There probably will be — the committee’s gotten pretty good at this.

—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at

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