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Brookings fireworks show in trouble

The Brookings Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 966 is seeking the community’s help to ensure the annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Port of Brookings Harbor happens this year.

A late start on fundraising combined with a downturn in donations and volunteers has left the show in a precarious situation.

“It’s always an arduous trip, begging for money and volunteers,” said Rick Bremmer, VFW post commander and coordinator of the fireworks show. “Last year we met our goal close to the holiday. This year we got a late start and it’s made it difficult.” 

The VFW is in its third year of coordinating the fireworks show, taking over for the Vietnam Veterans of America, who administered the event the previous 10 years. 

The Fourth of July festivities at the port bring an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 spectators to the area and is a boon to local businesses and community, Bremmer said.

The late start is due in large part to logistical issues caused by the previous fireworks company, Entertainment Fireworks Inc. from Olympia, Washington.

The company backed out of a previous commitment to once again conduct the pyrotechnic display.

Bremmer said that the company stated the original fee for the show would have to increase from the $15,000 price tag if they were to travel south for the event. Bremmer then responded, asking what their estimate would be. The company said they would get back to him but didn’t respond until early February, when Bremmer received a letter from the company stating they would not be returning this year.

Luckily, Bremmer was able to secure and approve a proposal from Homeland Fireworks Inc. out of Jamison, to bring their brand of pyrotechnics to Brookings on Independence Day.

“They were great,” said Bremmer. “All they asked for is $1,000 more and an earlier deposit. The contract proposals were approved at $16,000.”

The issue now, according to Bremmer, is raising the remaining funds to meet the $16,000 goal and getting enough volunteers to assist with the fundraising. 

The VFW needs to make a $7,000 down payment by the end of May, as required by Homeland Fireworks. So far, the VFW has raised $3,000 — from current donations and rollover from the previous year’s donations — and needs another $4,000 this month to make the down payment.

The remaining $9,000 will be due by late June or there will be no fireworks for the Brookings area on the Fourth of July, Bremmer said.

“If they want fireworks then we are going to need the help of the public. The public has been great at donating money, but I don’t have the bodies right now to meet our goal,” said Bremmer.

When asked why having fireworks on the Fourth of July is an important issue Bremmer responded, “I think when you see all those kids running up and down the beach, all those people cheering, all those car horns honking. It makes it all worth it. That’s our reward.”

Those interested in volunteering or donating can contact VFW Post 966 at 541-412-7214, located on the corner of Pioneer and Pacific Ave. in Brookings. 

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