Craig 4th of July fireworks fund hits $9,200

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Confirmed Contributors to Craig's 2014 Fourth of July Fireworks Show

Yampa Valley Bank — $4,000

Clarion Inn & Suites — $2,000

McDonalds — $1,000

The Memorial Hospital — $1,000

TMH Auxilary — $500

T & H Napa Auto Parts — $500

Maybell Women’s Club — $100

Downtown Books — $100

— The annual Fourth of July fireworks show, recently in danger of being canceled, might end up being the biggest and brightest fireworks presentation ever to grace Craig’s skyline.

In less than two weeks, Craig residents and businesses have committed to $9,200 in donations for the annual display.

It was unclear until this week whether the city would have fireworks at all.

The city of Craig and Moffat County usually co-sponsor the event, each spending $4,000. But the city is in the red. Council members opted out of funding the fireworks for 2014, among other cuts, and while Moffat County could have contributed its half of the bill, it couldn’t pay for the whole show.

As of mid-March, this meant Craig Fire/Rescue, the department that puts on the extravaganza, was not feeling optimistic about the Independence Day fireworks. They needed to order the fireworks before the end of April, and it wasn’t clear whether they would have the $8,000 for the show.

But when community members and local businesses learned the firework display faced budgetary problems, residents rose to the occasion with financial contributions.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce is facilitating the donations, Chamber Executive Director Christina Oxley said.

“This community is bottomless when it comes to supporting events, community members and community organizations,” Oxley said. “This is one of those situations in which this is exceedingly evident.”

Yampa Valley Bank contributed a donation of $4,000 to the event, branch President Dave Fleming said.

“We think it’s a very important part of our heritage, and it’s important within our community to celebrate that,” he said.

To top things off, the company that owns the Clarion Inn & Suites will donate $2,000.

“We just think its one of those things that we needed to do,” said Tom French, director of Hotels for New York-based Jacobs Real Estate Advisors that owns the Clarion. “Sholom (Jacobs) and myself both come from backgrounds where giving back to the community is very important.”

Craig Mayor Terry Carwile — also owner of Downtown Books, which donated $100 — was relieved that the yearly celebration will now go off without a hitch.

While the city wasn’t able to sponsor it this year, he said he hopes Craig can be a part of the show again in the future.

“It was really nice to see the community step up,” Carwile said. “It’s been a budget item; we just cut that one out this year. I hope we can afford to participate in the future.”

The surplus in donated funds could mean new equipment that could help the fire department host an even more exciting event with more fireworks in less time, Carwile said.

“It’ll go from a hand-operated display to a remote-operated display. You can actually put up more fireworks in a shorter period of time,” he said.

The possibility was an exciting one to the fire department.

“We might be able to build upon the quality and quantity of fireworks and improve the overall presentation of the fireworks show,” Fire Chief KC Hume said. “It certainly appears that, based on the community support, that we will be able to improve upon what has historically been a very good Fourth of July show, and make it something that is even better.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@cragidailypress.com.

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