May 18, 2012

UPDATE: July 4 fireworks are coming, but donations still needed


By IRENE NOLAN

It looks good for a return of July 4 fireworks to Hatteras Island this summer, but the group working to organize the event still needs donations to make it happen this year – and in future years.

If all goes well, there will be a spectacular pyrotechnic show at dusk at the Avon Pier.

A group of islanders from the Hatteras-Ocracoke Council of The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce started last year to work on the return of fireworks.

Along the way, the committee got the approval of the Avon Pier owners to launch the display at the end of the pier, which, according to Tatum Clements of Koru Village in Avon, was literally about the only site that the National Park Service would approve.  Fireworks are illegal on seashore beaches.

Chamber and county officials enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., to persuade the National Park Service to agree to issue a permit.

The business owners organizing the event felt they needed a non-profit community organization to sponsor the event and apply for a Tourist Bureau grant.

The Avon Property Owners Association stepped up to the plate as the official sponsor.

APOA board member Pat Weston, who is working with the community group, said the association set up a dedicated account for fireworks contributions this year and into the future.

APOA has secured the company chosen for the show, Pyrotechnico of Pennsylvania.

The show will cost $15,000, which is about the only cost associated with the event, since volunteers are doing much of the labor and advance work.

The Tourist Bureau has awarded APOA a reimbursable grant for $7,500, half the cost of the fireworks show.  

The “reimbursable” grant means it will not be paid until after the association pays for the show, so the fundraising goal is $15,000.

Weston said APOA already has almost $12,000 in donations in the fireworks account.  It’s been donated by businesses, large and small, and residents.  The APOA members have made $1,632 in individual contributions.

Committee members working on the show hope that the fundraising goal will be met – and then some.

“We just don’t know if there will be another grant next year,” said Joe Thompson of Koru village, one of the organizers.

When the $15,000 goal is met and the Tourist Bureau reimburses APOA, the group will have at least half of the money needed for next year’s show.

Weston said the group’s goal is to eventually have an all-day event.  This year, Koru Village’s new Beach Klub will be have live entertainment on July 4, and there be some food vendors or other booths.

She would eventually like to see a full-fledged carnival for Independence Day.

Businesses, residents, property owners, and visitors are all encouraged to contribute to returning fireworks to Hatteras.

Click here for information about corporate sponsorships or making an individual donation to the fireworks.


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