This year, the Fourth of July may pass Enumclaw by without so much as an officially organized bottle rocket or hand sparkler.
The Stars-n-Stripes committee, which for the past 10 years has organized fundraisers to bring an official firework display to the city, has disbanded and passed the torch to Enumclaw’s Chamber of Commerce.
According to City Administrator Chris Searcy, the chamber announced last week they are be unable to focus on fundraising for a firework show because of its workload this year.
“They (did) indicate they’d be excited to take it over for next year,” said Searcy during the May 11 City Council meeting.
The Chamber will sponsor the Independence Day parade again this year.
Because of this problem finding a sponsor group for the firework show, Enumclaw’s usual partner Western Display Fireworks has already assigned their pyro crews elsewhere for the Fourth of July.
Display Fireworks has said they could organize a show for Friday, July 3, instead.
Searcy said at the council meeting many Enumclaw residents are not aware that the traditional firework show is not a city event, and in the recent past the event has been funded solely by private donations made to the Stars-n-Stripes committee.
At the meeting Searcy said the deadline for organizing a show with Display Fireworks, or any other firework display company, may be as soon as June 1.
“We aren’t the only city they do shows for,” said Mayor Liz Reynolds. “It takes time for them to put these displays together. It’s not something that happens overnight.”
Those statements were made prior to the city officials finding out Display Fireworks had already assigned crews elsewhere for the Fourth.
Last year, the fireworks show cost around $7,500 for a 15 minute show, and a deposit of around $2,000 would be due by June 1, if the city still wanted Display Fireworks to host the show.
“We feel the community is going to expect this to be done, but that’s a pretty heavy lift to fund that full amount in this small amount of time,” Searcy said.
The majority of council members expressed concerns towards the city funding even part of the firework show because of many cuts made to community services this year.
“I would like to see something happen in the community, and I’d be happy to be involved and have this happen,” Councilman Darrel Dickson said during the May 11 council meeting, “But I am uncomfortable having the city pay for this with the cuts that happened.”
Councilman Mike Sando offered the solution of reducing restrictions towards fireworks for this year’s Fourth of July in lieu of an organized fireworks show.
While the council is unwilling to help fund a fireworks show, council members encouraged residents during the May 11 council meeting to do the leg work behind fundraising for a fireworks show.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to re-energize the Stars-n-Stripes committee,” said Mayor Reynolds.
Amy Hardebeck of the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce said while the chamber closed the Stars-n-Stripes bank account, residents could make donations towards the fireworks show to the chamber.
“We collect money there all the time for the boy scouts or the rotary, anybody who is having an event around town,” Hardebeck said. “We can definitely put an envelope at the front desk where the volunteers are for the fireworks fund and people can donate to that.”
Hardebeck recommended residents donating money for a fireworks show should make out checks and payments to the City of Enumclaw.
The Chamber of Commerce plans to take over Fourth of July celebrations beginning in 2016.
Reach Ray Still at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-825-2555 ext. 5058. Follow him on Twitter @rayscottstill for more news, pictures and local events.