Lamar Fireworks Funders Need More Manpower


2011 Display at Prowers Fairgrounds

2011 Display at Prowers Fairgrounds


It’s not so much the cost of the annual fireworks project as it is the effort to raise that money for the Lamar community each year. 

Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook outlined the need for other groups to step up to the plate to raise the $8,000 for the annual 4th of July fireworks display.  Cook, Deputy Chief Leonard and Fireman Burkhart hosted a gathering of concerned citizens and representatives from the city, county and local business community this past Thursday, June 13.  “We’ve reached a point where some help with the fundraising is necessary,” Chief Cook explained.  “The fire department and volunteers give up their 4th of July holiday each year to set up the display, from laying out and wiring the rockets starting at 8am that morning, to firing them off at nine that night and then several hours of clean up afterwards,” he stated.  The fire chief said with all the other activities through the year, the department just doesn’t have the manpower to contribute that much time.  Because of the ban on displays last year, the 2012 supply of fireworks is mostly untouched so there was no need for a full scale collection project this year.  The fireworks are usually purchased in May, so the collection goal has to be met each spring. 

He provided some history to the event, “We used to get most of our contributions in one evening when we worked with other groups.  The department and other groups would cover the city in one night and get most of the funding that way.”  Cook said the extra help has gone away and now the collections take place over a couple of weeks to reach the $8,000 goal.  “We just can’t spend the manpower anymore,” he explained as he opened the meeting to suggestions for outside assistance. 

And that’s the problem.  An organized commitment is needed from groups such as the Elks, Eagles, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, sororities, social organizations, Scouts, Voces Unidas, Rotary and others.  Chief Cook recognized that these groups also conduct fundraisers for their own projects through the year and the $8,000 will come in only from either a lot of small donations or several big ones.  He also recognized that everyone is facing budget limitations in this tight economy.  Cook stated that portions of the local business community benefit each year from the fireworks presentation. 

“Around 15% to 20% of those estimated 3,000 who attend the display are from out of town, and even local residents will buy gas, ice, beer, soda, snacks, lunches or dinners, you just have to look at the stores to realize that,” Cook stated, explaining that he viewed the annual event as a community-wide project because of its economic value.  Most of the fundraising suggestions from the audience came back to the need for manpower, though.  And until some other groups, different from the fire department step up to volunteer, next year’s fireworks display may just be wishful thinking.  Fundraising ideas ranged from seeking grants or underwriters for the event, setting up collection cans at local businesses to having volunteers collect for next year’s display from all the cars parked around the fairgrounds while they’re waiting for the fireworks to start.  Some calls will go out to other communities to see how they fund their fireworks display.  Contact the Lamar Fire Department with suggestions for volunteers or donations at 719-336-4321.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEventsFeaturedLamarProwers CountyRecreationTourism


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