Chamber struggles with fireworks funding

Published on Thu, Apr 12, 2001 by Brendan Shriane

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Chamber struggles with fireworks funding

By Brendan Shriane

The Blaine Chamber of Commerce is looking for help to pay for its Fourth of July fireworks display.

The chamber, which is sponsoring this year’s Fourth of July festivities with Resort Semiahmoo, needs $10,000 to replace money cut from the city budget that paid for the annual fireworks show on Blaine’s waterfront.

A city-wide garage sale May 19 and 20 is one of several fund-raising activities planned. The location of the garage sale is still pending.

Stephanie Christianson and Ed Magner, co-chairs of the chamber’s Harborfest committee, said the traditional Skywater festival has been renamed this year to draw more out-of-town visitors.

“Skywater no longer has name recognition,” Christianson said. “It used to. It used to be a huge thing; when I was little, I looked forward to Skywater. As soon as school got out we started looking forward to it.” Christianson said the name Blaine Harborfest is more recognizable to visitors.

Organizers of the summer festival are also looking for money to compensate for the loss of money from the city. Following a consultant’s recomendation, city council voted to cut event funding significantly and redirect funds to infrastructure improvements.

The two-day festival, featuring live music, food vendor booths, parade, kids carnival and a beer garden, will be June 23 and 24 at the waterfront marina and Marine Park.

“What you’ll see this year is pretty much what we did last year,” Magner said. “We hope to grow some more weekends and eventually be a year-round event, but our main focus has been making each event self-supporting, with the exception of the fireworks.”

“The fireworks are the only question mark,” he said. “You can’t make money shooting off fireworks.”

The chamber originally decided to not have fireworks this year but Carroll Solomon of the Blaine Visitor Information Center convinced them otherwise, saying the center had received calls from people who had attended the event last year and were planning their vacations around it this year.

Like last year’s Skywater Summer, Harborfest will include a series of activities all summer long such as last week’s April Fool’s golf tournament at Dakota Creek, the opening Kick-Off Festival, a tennis tournament on the same weekend as the kick-off, a Peace Arch toast and community picnic with officials from White Rock, B.C. planned for July 1, the Fourth of July fireworks and an August car show.

Anyone wishing to donate to the city-wide garage sale or volunteer to work at the kick-off weekend will be greeted with open arms. They can contact Magner, Christianson, or chamber president Pam

Christianson at 332-6484 or send an e-mail to blaine_harbor
fest@yahoo.com.

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