Fire up the fireworks

NORTH END — North End independence celebrations are just around the corner, but they certainly aren’t free from the economic woes plaguing the country.

Organizers for both Poulsbo’s Third of July and Kingston’s Fourth of July events report funding for their events is shallow.

Third of July coordinator Sandra Peterson said Little Norway’s offbeat observance is running roughly $10,000 short of what is needed. With a $500 contribution from the Poulsbo Yacht Club putting donations and sponsorships close to $17,000, the event is still a ways away from reaching its $26,000 need. Peterson said Third of July also receives $6,000 from the city, but that must be allocated to advertising.

“We are extremely short,” she said. “Nobody is sending any money.”

A quick fix? Peterson said if all families that are able send $20, the budget blues should be cured in no time.

“Just 20 bucks. If everyone sent 20 bucks we wouldn’t have a problem every year,” she said, adding she knows times are tough. “The businesses are having such a hard time right now, and the community is too, but this is an expensive event.”

The Bremerton Symphony is slated to make an appearance at this year’s Third, as are many local organizations.

“We’re trying to do things that the community is excited about,” Peterson said. Groups including Rescue Every Dog, Poulsbo’s Centennial Committee and a charity for Guatemalan orphanages are signed up to take part. She said Third of July offers space to area causes such as these instead of bringing in commercial booths that pay. “We don’t charge for them, we want them to be exposed to the community, and so we need the community to help us out. We could fill up the parking lot with people that pay us and get less money from the community for the event, but we want it to be a community event.”

Third of July also offers free shuttle services through Kitsap Transit from Wal-Mart, Home Depot and North Kitsap High.

Peterson added the Third and Fourth of July celebrations work together to cut down costs by sharing a fireworks barge and using donated sand.

Kingston’s Fourth of July celebration, while it remains one of the longest running in Western Washington, is hit even harder for funding.

“The parade dates back to the late 1800s when we had our very first one and the town has never missed one since,” said Pete DeBoer, commissioner for the Port of Kingston. “The legend is that Kingston’s Fourth of July parade is the longest running in the U.S. on this side of the Mississippi.”

Each year it takes “a heck of a lot” of volunteers and support, he said.

Between $35,000-37,000 each year has to be raised to pull off all the facets that make the celebration so loved.

“We are hoping the town will come through as it always has but we are realizing times are a little tough and its harder to do,” he said.

The port still needs the town’s contributions to fund the musical festival, Tiny Town and insurance for the event.

“The music festival is nearly as expensive as the fireworks with renting the stage and the huge amounts of sound equipment,” he said. “Those bands don’t play for free.”

DeBoer said other than the S’Klallam Tribe, the usual big sponsors haven’t contributed their normal amount.

“All our large donors we relied on are cutting back, it’s an interesting time.”

Although there is a lot that goes into the community celebration it continues to prove its worth and community value every year. “It brings a lot of people to the town,” he said. “It’s a good burst of economy for Kingston.”

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