Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Donations sought for city fireworks show

By PHILIP RILEY,philip.riley@arguscourier.com)

Details: Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July, and organizers of Petaluma's Independence Day event are hoping to keep it that way.

For the past five years, donations from local businesses made the fireworks display at the city's July 4 celebration possible. With money tight this year, Basin Street Properties and Shamrock Materials — the event's main sponsors — were forced to drop their support.

“Businesses are struggling, people are struggling,” said city recreation supervisor Jan Mandrell, who organizes the event.

The city is seeing donations from businesses and individuals to make up the remaining $30,000 to $35,000 needed for the event, which will cost $50,000 overall. Most of the money is for the fireworks and pyrotechnics experts, but it also pays for security, fire personnel and permits.

Donations have already come in from various individuals and businesses. The Petaluma Kiwanis Club has committed $10,000, and will have a booth selling wine and beer. Lagunitas Brewing Co. will donate beer to be sold at the event. Smaller donations from individuals and businesses have come to about $13,000.

Organizers are hoping to make the event a daylong celebration rather than just a nighttime fireworks show.

“We're trying to turn it into where it would be a longer day,” said Mark Ferguson, a Kiwanis Club board member. “Hopefully people will come, socialize and listen to music.”

“We want to have some activities for the kids, not just the fireworks,” said Mandrell.

Fund-raising notices were recently sent to residents with their water bills, and Mandrell is continuing to look for potential sponsors. Mandrell will seek bids from fireworks providers by mid-February, and needs to know if funding will be available by then.

“People don't start to think about (the event) until we get closer to July, but we really can't wait until that time,” said Mandrell. “It takes a lot of planning.”

The event is popular among residents every year, and Mandrell is counting on people and businesses to come through.

“The public has always supported it,” she said.

Interested donors can contact Mandrell at 778-4380. Checks can be made out to “City of Petaluma/Fireworks” and mailed to the Petaluma Community Center at 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma 94954.



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