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DETAILS: While Seattle's Fourth of July fireworks display is in doubt, Tacoma's annual Freedom Fair fireworks show will go on, its lead booster said Thursday.
In fact, organizers hope to increase the size of Tacoma's display this year, said Doug Miller, president and CEO of the Tacoma Events Commission.
The organizers of Seattle's big July 4 show on the shores of Lake Union said Wednesday the event would not be staged in 2010 for lack of a major sponsor. By Thursday morning, Seattle citizens and businesses were pledging Thursday to save it, with Microsoft and Starbucks Corp. each promising to chip in as much as $125,000 to match other donations.
Miller said Seattle's show, presented by One Reel, was looking to replace a $500,000 sponsor. By comparison, he said, Freedom Fair thrives thanks to hundreds of smaller sponsors. It also collected more than $20,000 in donations from fairgoers last year, he said.
"The money we raise goes to presenting and producing a great event, and we're not paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries," he said.
Freedom Fair's budget includes money for one full-time equivalent employee, which is split between two people, he said.
"I take my hat off to the hundreds of volunteers over the years who helped us through the past 30 years. The volunteers will be the lifeblood of the future," Miller said.
Of the approximately $1 million total cost to put on Freedom Fair, everything that goes into producing the fireworks show costs about $100,000, Miller said.
Cash donations cover about $250,000 of Freedom Fair's cost, he said, while the rest comes from in-kind donations of goods and services.
The City of Tacoma contributes $30,000 cash, Miller said. It also donates the services of police, public works and other agencies.
Miller said he hopes to pack more booms into this summer's show by possibly adding a second barge on Commencement Bay.
"There should be two available," he said, referring to Seattle. "I've gotta start calling."