Eatonville’s annual Independence Day celebration is carrying on while similar festivities in other towns are fizzling.
The July 3 fireworks show and accompanying activities – the only event in Pierce County that celebrates the Fourth of July a day early – is definitely a go, although “we’re still in desperate need of some funding. We’re going to go ahead with it and hopefully get some more money,” said Audrey Thompson, one of two businesswomen who do much of the organizing of the Eatonville shindig.
Some other towns and cities in Pierce County are feeling the gloom of troubled celebrations of America’s birthday this year. Orting’s fireworks show and festival have been canceled for lack of financial support. And the mega-fireworks exhibition on Tacoma’s waterfront is scheduled to go off as scheduled next Wednesday on the Fourth, but is questionable at best for next year, also because of money issues.
Meanwhile, Eatonville’s festival is plugging along. It’s about $500 short of covering all its expenses, which include $5,700 for the professional fireworks show, $900 for mandatory event insurance (“That’s the first thing we pay for,” Thompson said), and $700 for three inflatables for climbing and bouncing by kids.
The organizers depend on donations and fund-raising to make it all happen. Sales of tickets for a raffle of a car – a Ford Thunderbird donated by Korum Ford – will continue until July 3, and by last week it had generated about $1,000. That’s part of what mostly has been contributions from the general community.
“One gentleman gave us $300 this morning,” Thompson said last Wednesday. He’d apparently hit a jackpot at a casino and wanted to share his good fortune, Thompson reported..
Donations can be mailed to the July 3-4 Community Celebration at P.O. Box 1086, Eatonville, WA 98328. Information is available from Thompson at Thompson’s Licensing Agency (360-832-8366) and fellow organizer Karen Woodcock at All About You Salon (360-832-1722). They hope to have some left over as “seed money” for next year, Thompson said..
The annual scraping together of money for the festival is hard work and never a sure thing. “I don’t know if we can keep doing it this way,” Thompson said.
Every year, organizers worry that fund-raising won’t pay all the bills and the event will have to be scaled back, but so far that hasn’t happened.
Activities on July 3 will start about 5 or 5:30 p.m. at the Eatonville Middle School field. The free fireworks show will start lighting up the sky at dusk, roughly 10 o’clock.
At least 10 vendors of food (hot dogs, ice cream, icy treats and so on) and crafts are expected, Thompson said.
As in past years, fireworks fans will likely show up early to stake out a place to watch the show. Because the location is school property, school regulations will apply: No dogs, no smoking or alcohol, and no personal fireworks.