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Seattle chef Tom Douglas trying to save July 4 fireworks show

It's not over until chef Tom Douglas says it's over. The Seattle chef loves fireworks and wants to save this year's Lake Union 4th of July show. (AP Photo)

The show must go on. That’s the word from Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who is challenging city businesses and leaders to step up and save Seattle’s 4th of July fireworks show.

One Reel, producers of the annual show, bowed out this week when a fundraising goal of $500,000 fell far short by its April 1 deadline.

“I, as a businessperson, am happy to jump in line and help financially, but it needs some organization,” said Douglas, co-host of KIRO Radio’s Seattle Kitchen. “One Reel has made it clear that they’re out, that they feel like it’s too late in the game to organize this, but I think that’s nonsense, I think we can figure this thing out.”

Douglas and KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross led a fundraising campaign to save the fireworks show in 2010, with Douglas donating $5,000. It raised $500,000 in one day.

And he says there’s no reason the money can’t be quickly raised again.

“That’s less than $1 per person. That’s 100 businesses jumping in at $5,000 a piece. That’s 100,000 people showing up at the park and paying $5 to get in. There are a lot of ways to get $500,000,” he told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Douglas said he’s not leading a new effort to revive the fireworks for this year, but he’ll gladly help. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, doubling his previous donation with $10,000. And he’s asking 100 other businesses to pledge $5,000 each to reach this year’s fundraising goal.

Douglas said he’d like to see One Reel step back in and produce the show this year if the donations can be quickly raised, then step aside on July 5 if the non-profit doesn’t want to go through this again.

“I think that, honestly, the city needs to step in,” declared Douglas. “This is a city event for the people of Seattle and the city needs to step up and take some responsibility for this. They didn’t put up a dime.”

Mayor Mike McGinn issued a statement Monday:

“Fourth of July fireworks at Gas Works Park has long been supported by private funds. It is unfortunate that the event does not appear to be working out this year as it traditionally does at Gas Works Park. I will be meeting with local business leaders and stakeholders to discuss options.”

Douglas said he’ll gladly start compiling a list of potential donors via email and present those to the mayor in hopes of convincing the city to take part in saving the fireworks show, for at least this year. If you want to make a donation, you can contact Tom at

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