Columbus seeks $10k in pledges from community to save Fab 4th fireworks

Published 2:54 pm Monday, January 24, 2011

The Town of Columbus is running out of time to decide whether the Fabulous 4th of July celebration will include fireworks this year.
The town has until Jan. 31 to cancel its contract with Zambelli Fireworks if necessary.
Columbus officials were hoping to raise approximately $10,000 from the community to keep the fireworks show, since funding for the Fabulous 4th celebration was not included in this year’s tight budget.
The town has an existing contract with Zambelli Fireworks, and Zambelli notified the town last year that it could cancel the 2011 contract if it did so by the end of this month.
Columbus Town Council heard at its Jan. 20 meeting from councilwoman Ernie Kan, who said the Fabulous 4th committee has confidence it can raise the money. She urged the town to go forward with the contract and raise the money in the meantime.
“From talking to people in town, people would like to have the fireworks,” said Kan. “That’s a big part of the Fourth of July. I say let’s go for it.”
Other council members did not seem as confident that the town could raise the money.
“I see the fireworks from my house and they are great,” said councilman Michael Gage, “but it’s not my money. I can’t go on a gamble because it’s not my money to do it.”
Mayor Eric McIntyre and councilman Richard Hall also expressed concern.
“If we don’t have any money right now, how much are we going to have by July?” asked Hall asked.
McIntyre said almost $10,000 is a lot to go for. He said it would be one thing if the town was asking for a couple thousand, but that’s not the case.
Council decided to ask Zambelli for a one-month extension that would push the deadline to the end of February. If the deadline is extended, the town and committee plans to ask the community for pledges by the deadline and if enough pledges are obtained, the town will continue with the contract.
Columbus has held a Fourth of July celebration downtown for decades. Festival costs have increased steadily, and council decided last year that it could not continue to pay for the festival. The town will still hold a festival this year, but it will be more community based.