Third and Fourth of July not immune to funding ills

Good grief. The North End’s biggest bashes of the year are in serious danger of being scaled back by epic proportions. Poulsbo’s Third of July and Kingston’s Fourth of July festivities — that’s 48 hours of community celebration — are both having quite a time fundraising this year.

The Third and Fourth festivals are hit with the economic signs of the times. With rising gas prices, higher grocery bills and the economy walking a tight rope, checkbooks are stretched thin.

The Third of July is about $10,000 short of what it needs as of press time, said Third of July coordinator Sandra Peterson. Though both the Poulsbo Yacht Club and the city of Poulsbo have contributed, the earmarked $26,000 is still far out of reach.

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

This year’s festivities will feature the Bremerton Symphony, which has earned a well-deserved reputation for offering fabulous family entertainment.

“We’re trying to do things that the community is excited about,” Peterson said.

Other groups, too, will be on-hand for all-day entertainment. Nonprofit organizations are welcomed to set up booths at the event. These organizations don’t have to pay a fee.

“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,” Peterson said.

Kingston’s Fourth of July is in dire straits, as well, said Pete DeBoer, Port of Kingston commissioner.

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

Kingston’s funding goal is $35,000 to $37,000.

“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.

We know, it stinks. It’s overwhelming.

It seems like everywhere we turn, organizations from the Marine Science Center to the North Kitsap Community Pool to the Third and Fourth festivals, are tapped for cash.

Some can look to the state for funding, but Olympia’s money eventually runs out, too. So the organizations are forced to look to the community to raise funds.

So they do.

But these are more than just festivals. In the case of the Third and Fourth of July celebrations, these are time-honored events the communities look forward to year-round. They are celebrations of our nation’s independence, yes, but there’s more to them than that.

They are a chance for families to reconnect, watch each other’s children grow and share news and gossip over ice-cold watermelon.

These are fun-filled, family-oriented community traditions that need your help.

To keep the celebrations alive, the community must come together. To help out, send contributions to:

Third of July, 24118 Dove Lane, Poulsbo WA 98370 or

Fourth of July, P.O. Box 1505 Kingston WA 98346.

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