Ig­nit­ing New Money, Sup­port For Kailua 4th Of July Fire­works

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Islander -

It’s been three years since a small group of cit­i­zens saved the Kailua Fourth of July Fire­works, an event that has been a main­stay in the com­mu­nity for more than 60 years.

In 2008, three Kailua res­i­dents re­al­ized four weeks be­fore the event that the Kailua Cham­ber of Com­merce was no longer co­or­di­nat­ing de­tails for it, and the fire­works were not go­ing to take place.

More than $50,000 was raised in four weeks and per­mits ob­tained. Each year since, the event has met its fundrais­ing goals with the help of Chuck Cot­ton and Clear Chan­nel, small busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions and the res­i­dents of Kailua. The Cham­ber of Com­merce puts on the an­nual pa­rade and in the past had co­or­di­nated the fire­works show as well.

Gra­mann ex­plains that in year two there was no longer the im­mi­nent threat that the fire­works would not hap­pen, so peo­ple again as­sume the show will go on. Luck­ily we’ve been able to count on last­minute, one- time large do­na­tions from com­pa­nies like Sunet­ric last year; Hard­ware Hawaii, the StarAd­ver­tiser and Tar­get the pre­vi­ous year; and Long Stay Va­ca­tions the first year.

These do­na­tions, along with con­tri­bu­tions from main­stay spon­sors, in­clud­ing Clear Chan­nel Com­mu­ni­ca­tion’s match­ing ra­dio trade, Cas­tle Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Food­land and other Kailua busi­nesses, have en­abled the show to go on.

It had been our hope that an event of this cal­iber and long-stand­ing tra­di­tion would even­tu­ally be sup­ported in whole by one of the larger busi­nesses com­ing into Kailua town. Tar­get or Whole Foods and pos­si­bly Ka­neohe Ranch are three vi­able spon­sors we’d hope would be­come key spon­sors.

The fire­works cel­e­bra­tion is a stel­lar com­mu­nity event, a ter­rific spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­nity for any com­pany or or­ga­ni­za­tion. We’ve asked over the years, but have not had any suc­cess part­ner­ing with a large spon­sor to own the event.

All of us who have worked the event the last three years are own­ers of small busi­nesses and can no longer man­age and co­or­di­nate the many facets of the Fourth of July Fire­works. It is a sig­nif­i­cant job co­or­di­nat­ing, fundrais­ing, pro­mot­ing and run­ning the event over a three-to­four- month pe­riod. Do­na­tions have been steady over the years, but amounts do­nated have con­tin­ued to de­crease over­all, and it has be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to raise the amount of money needed to put on a qual­ity show.

Now that the econ­omy is im­prov­ing, we’re still hop­ing that Kailua’s larger mer­chants will be able to carve out money and time so that the fire­works can move for­ward and pos­si­bly the Kailua Cham­ber can work with these com­pa­nies so the show can go on.

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