Kingston sounds July 4th funding alarm

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By Terri Likens, Editor

Every year, Kingston must go begging to raise money for its annual fireworks show.

This year, officials are really feeling the fizzle of the economy as they set out to raise the thousands of dollars needed for the event.

“We’re the lowest we’ve been in seven years,” said Rick Ross, the city’s parks and recreation director. “We streamlined the event and made it lower cost for everybody, but it still costs money.”

Typically, Ross said, Kingston’s Fourth of July event costs about $64,000, including fireworks, watersports, bands and other attractions.

“We’ve stripped it down to about $50,000,” Ross said. “The biggest chunk is fireworks.”

He said the city saved about $4,000 on themain attraction by buying those early.

Other changes have been going to a bidding process to select vendors, and checking their menus, prices and references to make sure the public gets the most bang for its Fourth of July buck.

Usually, Kingston has raised about half the money it needs for the event by now, but not this year.

“At this point we’re at about $10,000,” Ross said. “We understand it’s a tough time to ask for money, but it’s our nation’s birthday.”

He also offered thanks to those who already gave.

A roadblock has been scheduled for June 10 to collect money

Ross noted that it is the 135th anniversary of Kingston’s first July 4th celebration.

According to reports from that era, that first celebration included the firing of rifles at 3 or 4 a.m., then a picnic lunch and fireworks.