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Seattle fireworks show short on money as fundraising deadline looms

Seattle's big fireworks show on Lake Union might not happen this year. (AP Photo/file)

Seattle’s big fireworks show on Lake Union might not happen this year.

One Reel, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Family Fourth event, says it needs to raise $500,000 by Sunday. So far, they have a little over $50,000.

“When did a major arts organization in Seattle turn into a corporate version of the panhandlers out on the street?” wonders KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

In 2010, KIRO’s Dave Ross and chef Tom Douglas spearheaded a fundraising effort to save the show.

“Does Seattle want this event? Does the community want this event to continue?” says One Reel spokeswoman Audrey Bergauer. “People need to speak with their dollars if people do want it to happen.”

Bergauer says the show serves a half-million people, so if everyone donated even a dollar that would cover the costs.

“Everybody in the community tells us they love this event and want it to happen, which is why we’re still here making this appeal,” says Bergauer. “But at the end of the day, just saying you want this event to happen is not enough, we do need donors to step up.”

Bergauer adds that they do begin fundraising for the next show the day after July 4th each year.

Donations for the Family Fourth at Lake Union can be made at

Dori is betting that a white knight will ride in and save the show even if nobody wants to donate.

“I guarantee it. Somehow it’ll happen. They have to justify all their salaries there at One Reel.”

Dori doesn’t blame anyone for enjoying the show, but he’s tired of the call to donate.

“I’m sick of them begging for money,” says Dori, who recommends One Reel get a sad dog to help collect donations on a street corner.

KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don also have solutions for One Reel.

It’s too late now, but Don says they should have called the best auctioneer in town, John Curley, to hold a gala and let the more well-to-do folks bid on items to raise money.

Now that it’s too late, he recommends just issuing a serious requests for $10 donations.

Ron just doesn’t understand why One Reel doesn’t turn the party at Gas Works into an actual summer festival with food and bands.

“This is ridiculous that we can’t call Eddie Vedder and give him a ukulele,” Ron wonders. “We can’t get one band to headline a show at Gas Works Park, Tom Douglas and the food trucks, and put together a festival that makes money?”

But the question remains: Does Seattle really even want a fireworks show?

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