Hundreds of people will gather along Eagle Harbor on July 4th, as dusk nears. Just like the previous seven years, they’ll be anticipating the Grand Old Fourth’s fireworks show. The 15-minute show, which boasts of great pyrotechnics, will end what has been a three-day Celebrate Bainbridge extravaganza.
“It’s really a special show,” said Scott Isenman, a member of the nonprofit group Bainbridge Fireworks. “Lots of people are out on their boats and there’s a huge crowd on the shore. After it’s all over, it gets silent and then cheers come from everywhere. It just gives you goosebumps.”
Isenman, and his wife, Laurie, and Bainbridge Island merchant Karin Lehotsky, are Bainbridge Fireworks. The group is small, but mighty.
However, this year, they’re down a member due to the “retirement” of Cheryl House.
“That’s really hurt us,” Isenman said. “Cheryl was the one who hit the streets and went door-to-door getting donations for the show. The others of us are the ones who mostly do the mailings asking for donations and getting sponsors.”
The show, which costs $25,000 to $30,000 each year, is the only reason Bainbridge Fireworks exists.
“Many people think that we’re part of the Grand Old Fourth and get funding from the chamber and downtown association,” he said. “Every cent we get is from our own fundraising.”
Isenman was quick to point out that the fireworks is a community celebration, funded by the locals to provide entertainment for individuals, residents, visitors and families to enjoy.
“There are those people who say ‘Why do it?’” he said. “They say it’s noisy and a waste of money. But as long as the community wants it and supports it, we’ll do it.”
He acknowledged that last year, and possibly this year, they’ve had to cut back “a few thousands of dollars” in what they were able to purchase for the show.
“Last year, we missed our (fundraising) mark,” he said. “We have a little bit of a buffer. But if we have to use that each year, it’s not going to be there for long.”
Although they begin organizing each year just after the first part of January, the fundraising goes into full motion in May and June. They plan to set up a donation table outside businesses, such as T&C, to remind people that the fireworks show is put on through donations.
“It takes everything we have to put on the show,” he said. “After the 4th, we kind of shut down until the next year.”
This year’s show is anticipated to be much like last year’s, he said.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we think we have a great show,” he said. “We have those water shells which go out across the water and then into the air. And the finale is wonderful.”
Isenman reminded folks that the following day, on July 5 at 9 a.m., volunteers are needed to help clean up.
“The city requires us to clean up anything along the beach at Pritchard Park,” he said. “It’s not really trash from our show. Mostly it’s the stuff people leave behind where they were watching on the beach. There’s actually full campsites left behind where you can tell everything they had to eat and drink.”
Volunteers also are needed to help fund raise. To volunteer, email Isenman at email@example.com.
And, go to the group’s website, www.bainbridgefireworks.org to find out more about the show, where to watch, and where to park. There is a PayPal link on the website where donations can be made. Or drop by Chase Bank, at 213 Winslow Way E., to make a donation.