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Fourth of July fireworks show likely if community pays for it

If Bainbridge Island residents want a Fourth of July fireworks show for a third straight year, they will have to pay for it.

A spokesman for Bainbridge Fireworks, a non-profit corporation that has officially replaced Bainbridge Island Yacht Club (BIYC) as the event’s sponsor, said most of the $25,000 worth of donations will need to be collected by June 25 for this year’s “third annual” show to happen.

“We think we have the support to reach our goal of raising $25,000 by June 25,” said Scott Isenman, the organization’s president. “It’s not a given, but with the support of our past donors we have higher confidence than before that it will happen. But it’s still up to the community.”

The “Arnie Jackson Fireworks Show,” which returned in 2009 after an absence of 20 years or so, is a 15-minute blast off of some 1,300 mortar shells from a barge anchored in Eagle Harbor. It will be synchronized to music broadcast over a low-power FM signal in the area.

The first show three years ago finished in the red, with BIYC paying the debt.

Sponsors helped keep last year’s event afloat, though BIYC was still very much involved and there was some doubt that it would be held.

“We didn’t know until the last minute if it was going to happen,” Isenman said.

This year’s show will cost more, he said, primarily because the Liberty Bay event on July 3 in Poulsbo will be downsized.

“We’ve had the exact same show during the last two years because we just towed the barge over from Liberty Bay and then just had to reload the mortar tubes,” he said. “We can’t just reset their show this year so it will cost more.”

He said the cost of the fireworks will be around $20,000, with another $5,000 needed to pay for a variety of expenses.

Isenman said it’s apparent that the community likes the event, as do downtown merchants since the show keeps people in the vicinity of the waterfront before and after the evening event.

“It’s hard to say how many people watched last year, but when the end of the event was broadcast over the radio there were horns honking all over the harbor,” he said. “We think a lot of people enjoyed it.”

Both the Bainbridge Island Fire District and Police Department have said in the past that when the Eagle Harbor show occurs they have seen a reduction of fireworks-related incidents during the evening hours when most “home” fireworks are exploded.

Several animal owners, including some living in the Eagledale area, complained of the noise made during the 2009 event. But Isenman said there were few complaints last year because steps were taken to lessen the racket.

“It’s a good event because it’s part of our historic celebration and it’s good for our downtown merchants,” Isenman said.

He added that volunteers are sought for a variety of chores, including helping with public communications.

Visit wwwBainbridgeFireworks.org or go to Viking Bank on Hildebrand for more information on ways to contribute.

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