Fundraisers will light up Wauseon over the next few months in an attempt to raise money for a Fourth of July fireworks show, Wauseon City Council was told Monday.
Councilor Rick Frey, a member of the city’s Holiday Committee, said the city has budgeted $10,000 of the approximately $22,000 spent last year to bring pyrotechnics to the skies above Dorothy B. Biddle Park. He said the city’s fire department is leading the charge to collect an additional $7,000 to $10,000 to pay the remaining cost.
Frey said First Assistant Fire Chief Phil Kessler told the committee “they don’t want to get out of this business of Fourth of July fireworks but they’re having a difficult time trying to raise money.”
The city’s Homecoming Committee will hold a chicken barbecue fundraiser July 3, and city restaurants Sullivan’s, McDonald’s, Los Mariachis, Tano’s Pizza, and Burger King have committed to donate a percentage of one day’s proceeds. Additionally, Tiny’s Dairy Barn will hold a fundraising event June 19.
The fire department pledged to have a fire truck and personnel visit each of those events, and Frey said WMTR 96.1 FM in Archbold will advertise them.
He said it’s hoped that more city businesses jump on the fundraising bandwagon. The fire department will issue a letter requesting support to all Chamber of Commerce members.
The department also plans to display decorated firemen’s boots at locations throughout the city to collect donations, and has considered developing a 50/50 raffle and a 5K run to raise money.
Kessler said a lot of fundraising organizations are asking for the same dollars.
“Everybody’s competing for the same donation, which is understandable. When you try to hit the local businesses, it gets hard on them to donate to everybody. A lot get hit day in and day out,” he said.
“Every year, it’s gotten a little tighter, (so) we’re working more with the businesses. We’re not just saying, ‘Can we have the money?’ We tell them, ‘We’re willing to work alongside you.’”
Private donations come in smaller amounts, “but every amount counts,” Kessler said. “We’re trying to really promote a family day at the park.”
Mayor Kathy Huner said it’s important to continue the Independence Day tradition. “It shows that our community has pride in our country and what it stands for,” she said.
Wauseon citizens are loyal to their city and take pride in the annual fireworks display, she said.
“For the last four years the Wauseon Fireman’s Association has stepped up to provide a wonderful celebration for Wauseon residents and surrounding community,” Huner added. “This year, the Holiday Committee and the Parks and Recreation Department, along with other local businesses and volunteers, have stepped up to assist us with another great show on the Fourth of July 2016.”
Kessler is confident fireworks will again burst over Wauseon this year.
“The community always pulls through for us. It’s a great community, and they love their fireworks,” he said.
Food vendors who have committed to the Biddle Park Fourth of July fireworks celebration include Tano’s Pizza, AKA Designs, and Deet’s BBQ.
Donations can also be made payable to the Wauseon Recreation Association, 230 Clinton St., Wauseon.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.