Independence Day Fireworks Organizers Regroup

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The upper pavilion at Claudius Crozet Park was totaled in the June 29 storm.

Representatives of the coalition of civic groups that combine to put on the Crozet Independence Day Celebration, the parade and fireworks show, gathered at the firehouse July 13 to commiserate over the cancellation over this year’s show and set a plan for next year’s. Months of planning and effort had gone into the show, which was set up before the June 29 windstorm struck, and then had to be cleaned up in steamy heat in the days afterward. And no fun happened. On the other hand, planners were relieved the storm hadn’t hit the next day, when the park could have had 3,000 people in it.

In the end the show had $2,021 in advance expenses. Nearly every vendor who had set up and had losses from the storm accepted them without charging the event. The fireworks contract called for the show’s deposit of $1,600 to be forfeited if the show was cancelled, but given the circumstances, the fireworks company charged only for its out-of-pocket costs, which amounted to $975, and $625 remains on deposit towards next year’s show. The remainder of the next deposit, at least $1,000, but possibly more depending on which day is selected for the event, will be due in February. This year’s show cost $6,500, partly because it was scheduled for June 30. Next year the Fourth of July will fall on a Thursday and if the parade is set for that date, the fireworks will likely cost more. The Downtown Crozet Association, which advanced the deposit, will be reimbursed for it. The DCA is likely to apply it to the application expenses for the Crozet Historic District, which had been the intended beneficiary of the event. That application is still short by $2,500.

Donations to the fireworks fund totaled $6,772. This year 81 people sent in checks, up from the 74 who contributed in 2011, but the sum of the checks was sharply down from the previous year. Organizers discussed how to improve fundraising and what possible reasons for the decline in donations could be. After the meeting, donors were mailed a thank-you letter acknowledging their gift and explaining the committee’s plans.

It costs somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000 to put on the event, even with the generous volunteer effort of the civic clubs. Roughly $5,000 is necessary before the event date and the remaining bills can be paid afterward. Thus the show relies on happening to cover its expenses through donations at the gate and a share of food and drink sales, raffle proceeds, etc. The goal of this year’s show had been to cover the cost of registering the Crozet historic district and hopefully leave enough to cover the advance expenses of the 2013 show. Organizers agreed that they want to build up the show’s budget to the point where the event raises enough to pay for the next year’s show in advance, eliminating the annual campaign to raise fireworks money, and thus making the show self-perpetuating. The 2011 show raised about $6,000 beyond expenses, which was donated to the Crozet pool dome project. Organizers believe that the parade day should be able to generate a similar sum annually for Crozet community needs.

In line with their longer-term goals, the organizers agreed to leave the remaining $3,671 as seed money for 2013. A fund drive for the fireworks show will still be necessary.

Planners discussed whether to set next year’s show for July 4 or possibly the evening before. If on July 3, the idea would be to start the parade at 5 p.m., when, hopefully, the day is beginning to cool off. The parade takes an hour to reach the park, so it would arrive at dinner time on this schedule. The decision about the date was put off until a planning meeting set for Nov. 15 and meanwhile cost factors related to each date will be investigated, as well as how the alternatives could affect parade participants.

Thank You, Fireworks Fund Donors!

Allied Portable Toilets
U.S. Joiner, LLC
Crozet Great Valu
King Family Vineyard
NPULSE Technologies, LLC
Nicholas & Gail Munger 
Chiles Peach Orchard
Brownsville Market
C.D. & Jo Ann Hammer 
Sherry & Al Minutolo
Albemarle Ballet Theatre
Anderson Funeral Services
Phil & Billie Best
Blue Ridge Builders Supply
Blue Ridge Dental Arts, Inc.
Drs. Rice & Associates
Clover Carroll
H. Kay Cross, PC 
Crozet Eye Care
Crozet Insurance Agency
Crozet Print Shop, Inc.
Crozet Shopping Center, LLC
Olde Towne Shoppes, LLC
Charlotte Dammann/Sara Lee Barnes
Green Oliver Tree, Inc.
Nancy & Keith Knoell
David Hilliard
Crozet Self Storage
U.Va. Community Credit Union
Tim & Donna Tolson
Sandy & Janice Wilcox
Michael & Lisa Marshall 
Jon & Mary Mikalson
Mudhouse Coffee
Ann & Leo Mallek
Marie Marklein
Marsha & Marland Newton
John & Brenda Plantz
Mary Rice & Fred Williamson
Alvin & Ann Toms
Caroline Walters
Wayland Orchard & B&B
White Hall Media
Sandra Williams 
Carolyn Simmons & Bill Sweeny 
Mary Minor & Peter Henderson
Mac Lafferty
Joyce & Curtis Morris
Alyce & Mark Outlaw
John & Carolyn Rosenblum
Steve Tharp
Joe & Ellen Waff 
Virginia Barber
Leslie Burns
Donna & Carroll Conley
Barbara Franko
Tom & Jackie Loach
Barbara Massie & Florence Mouley
Claude & Patty Saul
Bill Schrader 
Paul Grady 
I. JB McNeil