Bainbridge asked to fund restart of annual Fourth of July fireworks show

The Bainbridge Island Lodging Association is hoping to get a grant from the city to restart the island’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

The fireworks show — the explosive, aerial exclamation point at the end of the city’s Independence Day holiday — was canceled this year for lack of sponsors and funding.

The lodging association is seeking a $45,000 grant from the city’s civic improvement grants (also known as lodging tax funds) to pay for the show, which organizers say would include not only traditional fireworks, but a drone display over Eagle Harbor near Pritchard Park.

The drone display would include a fleet of 50 to 60 drones, according to the grant application, which would be launched from Washington State Ferries’ Trask pier. The computer-choreographed drone show would be set to “a storyline of patriotic and regional images which is reinforced and enhanced by a prerecorded and synchronized narrative and musical soundtrack.”

Organizers, which include Scott Isenman, who led previous fireworks shows on Bainbridge with the nonprofit Bainbridge Island Fireworks, said the relaunch of the fireworks show would encourage visitors to extend their stays on Bainbridge at the end of the July 4th holiday. They noted that this year’s cancellation of the fireworks display caused many hotel room cancellations on the night of July 4.

The new fireworks proposal is a partnership between the Bainbridge Island Lodging Association and the all-volunteer 4th of July Fireworks/Drone Committee.

“Our objective as a partnership is to present an evening show that will encourage tourists to spend an additional night in paid accommodations on the Island,” organizers wrote in their grant application.

“Last year the downtown hotels experienced a significant exodus on the Fourth of July when guests understood that the annual fireworks show was cancelled. For many visitors and residents the show is the culmination of the holiday period and an important tradition of our summer months,” they added.

Though the group is seeking $45,000 from the city, the total cost of the show has been estimated at $69,000.

Organizers said a primary vendor, Boomtown Productions, would handle the pyrotechnics and drone show, including all professional services for programming, as well as the music-narrative soundtrack, at an expected cost of approximately $60,000.

Fundraising for the additional money needed for the show would start next April.

The fireworks proposal is one of 15 grant requests made to the city for funding next year from the city’s lodging taxes.

City officials said there is $275,000 in grant money available to promote tourism on the island next year. Grant awards will range from $2,000 to a maximum of $137,500.

The city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee will meet early next week to hear presentations from nonprofit groups that are seeking civic improvement grants.

Nonprofits have submitted requests for 2020 funding that total $537,270.

Other proposals for funding in 2020 have been made by:

Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (Currents Online Cultural Collaborations, $14,000);

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts (Off-Island Advertising, $14,000);

Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce (Visitor Information Center, $65,410);

Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (Multi-Media Destination Marketing Campaign, ($68,100);

Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (Second Annual Pickleball Founders Tournament, $29,910);

Bainbridge Island Lodging Association (Destination Bainbridge: 2020, $89,600);

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (Cultural Impact Programs & Festivals, $10,000);

Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation (Trillium Trail Family Run, $9,000);

Bloedel Reserve (Shoulder Season Awareness Campaign: “Fish Where the Fish Are,” $23,000);

City of Bainbridge Island (Downtown Wayfinding Signs, $36,000);

North Kitsap Tourism Coalition (Media Support, $10,000);

Visit Bainbridge Island (Multi-Media Destination Marketing Campaign, $71,500);

Visit Kitsap Peninsula (12-Month Lodging & Tourism Marketing Campaign, $24,000); and

Winery Alliance of Bainbridge Island (Wine on the Rock Event, $27,750).

In 2019, the city awarded $262,000 in civic improvement funds for tourism promotion efforts.