Skywater canned for fancier 4th

Published on Thu, May 9, 2002
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Skywater canned for fancier 4th

The Blaine Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel the annual Skywater festival to focus on expanding events on Independence Day. “Rather than try and do two functions in two weeks we decided to put all our eggs in one basket, from volunteers to money,” said chamber president Pam Christianson. “It boils down to trying to do something right.”

Fourth of July festivities will absorb the traditional Skywater parade and fair. “We’re talking about moving it downtown the way it used to be,” Christianson said. Plans are to close off H Street between Peace Portal Drive and 3rd Street to accommodate vendors and musical entertainment. “We’re hoping to build on that every year and make it a fun all-day, all-town event,” Christianson said.

Christianson said she hoped other local groups would add other events to the day. “It would be nice if someone besides us pitched in to do something, maybe a community picnic,” she said, adding she encouraged other local organizations to put on events throughout the year as the chamber moves away from event planning. “Pick a weekend and do something – it shouldn’t always be the chamber,” she said. “We’re moving away from events stuff and doing more economics.” Fundraising events like the Bite of Blaine will continue.

Christianson is now gearing up the fundraising machine for the fireworks display to end Blaine’s Fourth of July. “If the money’s there I’d like an even bigger display,” she said.

Part of the chamber’s patriotic decorations are already up along Peace Portal Drive and will stay up until the fall – 120 American flags. “So far we have 60 up,” Christianson said. The flags were purchased with local donations and Christianson is still collecting funds to replace dollars that needed to be taken from the chamber general fund to make up the shortfall. Public works foreman Leroy Dougall saved the project $900 by manufacturing the brackets for the flags and putting them up after work – twice. Initially Dougall put the flags up hanging straight down like banners, enlisting help from his family to modify them so they would hang straight, but they just didn’t flutter right. The brackets came down and Dougall modified every one so the flags could be flown at an angle and flap in the breeze.

Christianson said the chamber planned to keep the flags up during spring and summer and take them down in the fall. “We’ll want public input but I’m afraid they’ll get too beat up if they’re left out in the miserable cold rain.”..

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