Local Fireworks Funding Needed


Chris Duffy and Marshall Cook

Chris Duffy and Jared Crabtree

This year’s 4th of July fireworks display at the Prowers County Fairgrounds will go on as scheduled, but next year’s display may be in doubt.  Not because of a lack of rain to keep the area moist, but because of a lack of dollars to pay for the fireworks display.

Each year, for almost 30 years, the local fire departments received donations for the display, at about a dollar at a time.  Several years ago, both the county and city contributed funding for the display, but tight budgets ended that practice.  Last Friday evening, Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook and Chris Duffy, Fire Chief for the Lamar Prowers Volunteer Fire Department, held a brain storming session for the general public to contribute ideas for more efficient, future collections.

Aside from some local media, Jarred Crabtree from the local Elks Lodge and Boy Scout Troop 223 representatives, few attended.  Cook outlined a brief history of the annual fireworks displays since his involvement in 1985.  First, costs have increased.  Around $2,500 used to pay for the same type of display that now costs $8,000.  The fireworks we’ll watch this July 4th were ordered and paid for in April.  Cook said that so far this season, only $4,300 had been collected.  Volunteer firemen will go out into area neighborhoods in the summer, collecting for donations, door-to-door, but the process is slow and takes a toll on the volunteers who don’t often have that much time to contribute.  Cook remarked that the process of the displays has become more time-consuming.  “Years ago, we’d have the rockets in place and several firemen would light them using a railroad flare on a long pole.  “The process was simple and quick, but involved an element of risk,” he stated.  Cook said, “Now it’s all electronic for the 1,200 shell display, but it’s also time-consuming on our part, as each round is placed in mortars, and each one is electronically wired to a detonation console.  It takes about 4-5 hours for a team to assemble and about that long for the clean up and tear down the next day.”  “It’s a community event,” remarked Cook, “people from all over the county come to town for this display, and we know it helps generate some revenue to some retailers, through gas and food sales, and perhaps some shopping, too,”  He said he approached the Lodging Tax Panel about funding, but was told that as the donations would have been used as a capital purchase for fireworks, not marketing, they were restricted on how their funding is allocated.

Some suggestions ranged from ‘skip a year, and don’t have them in 2012’ to having the fire department volunteers out in force collecting from all the parked cars at the fairgrounds the night of the display.  Another suggestion included manning donation tables during year-long activities in the city, such as the Holiday Tournament, Parade of Lights, Lamar Days at the park and similar events.  The meeting did help the immediate donation situation, as a $200 presentation was made by Jarred Crabtree, Exalted Ruler of the Lamar Elks Lodge.

By Russ Baldwin

Photos by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEntertainmentLamarRecreation


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.