For the first time, Oak Harbor community members at large have a chance to put their money behind the city’s patriotic pyrotechnics.
Kathy Reed, the new director for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said the organization is running behind on its annual fundraising campaign for the Fourth of July fireworks show over the water.
The chamber traditionally raises cash for the fireworks from within its membership, but this year the group is running short on funds.
Reed is now looking for ways to involve the public.
“I don’t think that people in Oak Harbor realize that the business community puts on the event,” she said.
“This will be another way for the community to really get involved and take ownership.”
Starting May 1, everyone will be able to donate to the fireworks fund online at the chamber’s website or at the chamber’s visitor center along State Highway 20.
There are different “levels of sponsorship,” Reed said. A $10 contribution, for example, is “Firecracker” and $25 is a “Sparkler.”
At the $100 “Cherry Bomb” level, an individual gets his or her name on the chamber’s reader-board for a day.
A business that donates $100 gets its name on a sandwich board sign.
“You can even choose the day, but hurry. They’re going fast,” Reed said.
Reed said the chamber is working with a different pyrotechnics company this year. She said the company that puts on a popular July 3 fireworks show in Freeland submitted the low bid and promised a great show.
Total cost of the fireworks show is $14,000.
The Oak Harbor chamber has only raised $6,000 so far, Reed said.
Reed blames the years of economic upheaval for the shortfall.
Seattle is experiencing the same issue as the group responsible for raising money for the big fireworks show gave up after being unable to find the dollars.
In the past, one business each year would agree to be grand sponsor of the fireworks program and finance half the cost of the colorful explosives.
This year, three businesses — Toppins, Sherwin Williams and Whidbey Coffee — joined together to be the grand sponsors.
They are each contributing $2,000.
Though it may take some cajoling, Reed said she’s confident Independence Day will be properly explosive.
“We’re going to have fireworks, even if I have to stand there holding a sparkler.”