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A few ideas to save Seattle’s Fourth of July fireworks show

Dave Ross and Luke Burbank have some ideas on how to keep the Fourth of July fireworks show going at Lake Union. (AP Photo/file)

After the public stepped up to save Seattle’s Fourth of July fireworks show in 2010, the show’s producers are going to the pot again, asking for donations for the 2013 show. But KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross who actually launched the 2010 drive for donations is doubtful this route can continue to deliver.

“What was the key to our effort in 2010 was there was this outpouring of support and part of it was because nobody could even conceive of the idea of the fireworks being in trouble so there was a spontaneous aspect which I think is going to be impossible to duplicate,” says Ross.

“A lot of people said, ‘Well let’s do this every year.’ I said, ‘You can only have a real emergency once.’ You can’t rerun the same emergency a second and third time, because then it is not an emergency.”

One Reel, the event producer’s of the Family Fourth at Lake Union, say they need to raise $500,000 by March 31 to move forward with a 2013 show.

“If the funds are not raised to safely produce the event, One Reel will not execute the event in 2013 and will begin planning for 2014,” says a message at the website.

The website has already begun collecting donations, but Dave notes their pie chart is nowhere near full. It looks like only about an eighth of the money needed has been raised. If Dave’s right that the sense of urgency present in the 2010 campaign can’t carry over year after year, what are the other options? Dave and co-host Luke Burbank have come up with a few.

Luke’s first suggestion is to charge for admission.

“What if they charged $2 a person at Gas Works? Don’t you think most people would probably pay that?” says Luke.

The One Reel website says the annual Fourth of July show serves half a million people in the community, so Luke says if you charge each person just $1 that should cover it.

But Dave points out a big portion of that number is probably folks that watch the show on TV, so how would you get their $1?

So, if people paying to get in won’t cover it, might they pay for other services that could help raise funds?

“What if they did this, free beer but it’s $200 to use the Port-a-Potty,” says Luke. “Because I would pay that sometimes if I’ve had enough free beer.”

In Dave’s experience, he says this might not be a good idea.

“Here’s the thing, my experience with crowds where that has been the case, my last experience was Woodstock ’94, a yellowish creek begins to run across the event grounds.”

Luke has one more potential solution, that at least would preserve the show for that portion that would be happy to watch it on TV: replay last year’s show.

“They could just put it on TV and I wouldn’t know it wasn’t happening in real life.”

If you’re not sold on these solutions, but determined to attend the fireworks show on Lake Union this year, they’re still in need of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Donations can be made here.

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