Seattle’s Fourth of July fireworks show on Lake Union has been canceled because its organizers have only been able to raise one-tenth of the money needed to fund it.
The organizer, One Reel of Seattle, says there’s almost no possibility of saving the event this year because the March 31 deadline for raising $500,000 has passed.
“We’ve tried to be as clear as possible to the community that we’re willing to produce it, at no profit to us, if people are willing to step up and fund it,” said Aubrey Bergauer, marketing and communications director for the nonprofit. One Reel has raised only $50,000.
It’s the second summertime tradition in Seattle that appears likely to be canceled. In March, Seafair officials said that the Blue Angels precision flying team may not fly over Lake Washington this August due to the federal budget sequester. The Navy has not told Seafair whether the Angels will be available.
If the Angels are canceled, Seafair officials have said they’ll sign a contract with the Patriots Jet Team, a civilian-owned precision aerobatics team from California.
Bergauer said the March 31 deadline for the fireworks show was chosen because suppliers needed to know by that date whether there would be a show in Seattle. She said the only way the show can be saved at this late date is if a single company stepped forward immediately to sponsor the entire show.
But no single company has yet offered to do so. “You name the company, we have talked to them,” she said.
Before the recession, single corporate sponsors were the norm; from 2002 to 2008, Washington Mutual was the sponsor, and in 2009, Chase sponsored the fireworks.
But “the recession changed all that,” Bergauer said. No one company is interested in paying for the entire event, and “I don’t know if we’ll ever see that model again.”
For the shows in 2010, 2011 and 2012, One Reel cobbled together a number of smaller corporate and private donations to pay for the show. And One Reel often didn’t have all the money together until well after March 31, Bergauer said.
“We certainly have not made a profit” from the fireworks show, she said. “You could argue it’s been really hard on us. It serves 500,000 people – this year, we had to step back and say, what is the right thing for our company?”