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Fourth of July fireworks show canceled after donations fall short

Fourth of July fireworks show canceled after donations fall short »Play Video
Fireworks burst over Lake Union on July 4, 2012. (Joshua Lewis / KOMO News)
SEATTLE -- The Fourth of July fireworks show on Lake Union has been canceled after organizers were unable to raise enough money to put on the show.

One Reel, which manages the production, had set a March 31 deadline to raise the $500,000 needed for the event.

"We were several hundred thousand dollars short. It wasn't even close," said One Reel spokeswoman Aubrey Bergauer.

Bergauer said even if a last-minute source of funding were found this week it would be too late to organize a show this year.

"This deadline is a real deadline. It was driven by our suppliers," she said. "The reality is it's just not going to happen."

Bergauer donations already received for the 2013 show would be refunded.

In previous years One Reel put the show together and then asked for donations, but this year the group decided to try to raise the money in advance. Organizers fundraised for months, with a big campaign in March that fell way short.

"This campaign was all about are people willing to step up and back that with their dollars," Bergauer said. "And in that sense we've seen an answer very loud and clear."

The money was needed for the actual fireworks themselves and behind-the-scenes necessities like police officers and firefighters.

Seattle was a two-fireworks show town as recently as 2008. The Ivar's-sponsored 4th of July fireworks show over Elliott Bay was canceled in 2008. It ran for 44 years.

The news of Seattle's cancellation has smaller cities bracing for am onslaught of fourth of July revelers. The $16,000 show in Kent will go on over Lake Meredian.

"As you go through the year you're always a little nervous as you start your campaign for fireworks," said Mark Hendrickson. "But right now, the fireworks will go."

Renton's celebration at Coulon Park is confirmed too, but the city could use a few more sponsors willing to pony up $10,000-to-$20,000, especially if Seattleites head south.

"We would anticipate we could see larger crowds,." said Sonja Mejlaender. "But for our event, it's already full through the course of the day. There's not much blank grass space come 10 o'clock for the fireworks show. It's pretty full already."

There is a chance the Family 4th could come back to Lake Union in 2014 if funding goals are met, organizers said. But a spokesperson says for that to happen, they probably need a corporate sponsor willing to write one big check.