Ithaca’s annual Community Fireworks show has been set for July 3, and this community-supported show needs us to donate. “The event is put on by a group of volunteers and is supported wholly through donations from the community,” say organizers.
“This celebration of liberty and community will only happen if we can raise funds,” says City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, who pushed hard to bring fireworks back to Ithaca after he became mayor. “We’ve got a steep hill to climb and every bit helps.”
“Though it may seem non-essential,” the mayor tells us, “working with a great team that was led by Vicky Taylor Brous to bring the fireworks show back is one of the things I’m proudest of.” Before Svante was elected, the community fireworks were in Dryden on the campus of Tompkins Cortland Community College for a couple of years. Since the show came back, “the turnout has been consistently great,” he says.
As of this afternoon, over $5,000 has been raised toward a $20,000 goal. Event organizers say a little over half covers the actual fireworks show, and the rest “goes right back into our community through paying for police, fire, emergency first response, cleanup crews, and more.” The evening-long fireworks event at Stewart Park includes music and food vendors, with the fireworks shot from the shore of Cayuga Lake starting about 9:45.
“What makes Ithaca’s tradition special is the fact that it is funded by the community,” Mayor Myrick told us last year. “Not taxes or any one large sponsor — everyone who contributes truly owns the show.” Organizers do reach out to lots of local businesses to help, but the bulk of the fundraising comes from personal donations and events like a fundraising beer-tasting at Agava.
The mayor says he’s always loved fireworks and Independence Day. “Fireworks belong to everyone and unify the entire community,” he told us today. “For one night, we are all sitting shoulder to shoulder looking up at the same night sky.”