The Fourth of July fireworks will be a good bang for all viewers’ bucks.
But there might not be enough bucks for the bangs.
VFW Post Commander Rick Bremer and Quartermaster Wade Hatfield are worried and frustrated about the turnout – or lack thereof – from the community to pay for the extravaganza.
“We’re kind of wallowing right now; we’re at a dead standstill,” Bremer said. “Because of the economy, we’ve had a difficult time coming up with the money from the public like last year.”
So far, the veterans’ organization has raised about $10,000 toward the $25,000 bill to put on the fireworks show this summer.
The VFW barely raised enough money to put on the show last year.
“Everyone came away last year, ‘Wow! That’s the best show I’ve ever seen!’, ” Hatfield said. “People come from all over the place to see it.”
And if they don’t raise enough money for this year’s display – and have to personally pay for it – there won’t be a show next year unless another organization takes it on.
“It’ll happen this year,” Bremer said. “But (without funding) it will not happen next year. We’ll be done with it.”
This year’s show promises to be even better that last, with explosions going off for about 45 minutes, and configurations that haven’t been seen before.
“We don’t even know what they are,” Bremer said. “It’s a surprise.”
To raise money for the event, the VFW has hung posters in businesses, made phone calls, sent letters to past donors and posted volunteers at store doorfronts.
“It takes a lot of $5 (donations) to come up with $25,000,” Bremer said. “If we did it by population, we’d never make it.”
“That would be about $3 for every man, woman and child,” Hatfield noted. “And their pets.”
Corporations that made donations last year haven’t chipped in yet this year, a situation likely compounded by the economy.
Additionally, more non-profit organizations are competing for limited dollars.
“We accomplished something last year that, pretty much, no one else can do,” Bremer said. “A lot of people didn’t even know we put on the fireworks.”
The VFW, along with Ribbons & More, is also sponsoring a vintage car show to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation.
But Hatfield and Bremer are a bit nervous as the deadline looms.
“If we have to go through this frustration, doing this again next year is not going to happen,” Bremer said. “It’s like slapping yourself to death.”
For more information, contact the VFW at 541.412.7214. Contributions for the fireworks show can be made to VFW, P.O. Box 2475, Harbor, OR 97415; or at the Chetco Credit Union, c/o Fourth of July Fireworks.