With Fire In The Sky returning once again this year on July 3 at 10 p.m., fundraising has started and donations are being accepted.
As a kick-off to the fundraising season, Dan Fowler, chairman of the Fire In The Sky Fourth of July fireworks display, is encouraging the community to visit the Washington Fire Department on Saturday from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. and drive through the fire station with a donation for this year’s event.
“One of the doors will be open at the fire department, and you can just drive in at the front of the building and through to drop off a donation,” Fowler said during an interview on Thursday. “We will accept all donations. Whatever they want to donate, or if they want to buy a t-shirt for a $5 donation, we can take care of them and they don’t even need to get out of their car.”
Fowler said Thursday that fundraising and planning for the fireworks display is progressing per usual for this time of the year. He said the one thing they are always running short of is money, and it is one of the most seemingly time-consuming portions of the work to put on the annual display.
“We put in anywhere between 750 and 1,000 man hours to put on an 18 minute fireworks display,” Fowler said. “We are in our 18th year and I have been doing it all 18. I would say the biggest difference for us in recent years is that for 14 years we used a firing system that I had built. It worked well, but it lacked. A lot of the things you can do with a more modern firing system we couldn’t do. Three years ago we acquired a firing system that I could do all of the choreography on the computer and load it into the controller, and it will fire the entire show. We do not have to push any buttons besides to get it started.”
This is only one of a few changes over the years, according to Fowler. Another significant change is the group that runs the display now puts on firework displays in other parts of the state. This year for instance, the technicians will put on a display at Kamp Dovetail, Ripley and Circleville, with the latter two helping to pay for the local display on July 3.
“We have two shows that we are doing, Ripley on June 30th and Circleville on July 1st,” Fowler said. “We are taking what money we get to fire those shows and they go toward paying for our show. After we shoot off those displays for Rozzi Fireworks, whatever money they would usually pay to have someone shoot them off just gets deducted from the fireworks we are paying for. So those two shows are actually fundraisers for us. We have done this the last three years.”
The budget for this year’s display in Washington Court House is around $21,000 to $22,000. Fowler said it takes a significant chunk of money to put on a show of this size, and also said they save money by shooting it off themselves. He estimates that to hire a crew to put on the show, it would cost them an additional $5,000 to $10,000 more.
“We do everything in house, we don’t want to hire anything out,” Fowler said. “We do the sound track, the choreography, WVNU airs the soundtrack and then we do all of the set-up and tear-down. That is all our people.”
Stay with the Record-Herald for more updates on the Fire In The Sky firework display returning July 3 to Washington C.H.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy