By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 12:54 p.m.
Windsor’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration, canceled by a budget-conscious Town Council, has been saved by private benefactors.
In short order, organizers have raised $17,000 to cover most of the cost of the fireworks show, with the largest donation, $8,000, coming on Thursday from James Ratto of Santa Rosa.
Ratto, owner of North Bay Corp., the county’s largest refuse company, recently contributed $20,000 to Santa Rosa’s Rose Parade to make sure it could pay its bills.
“This is a go. It’s going to happen for sure,” said Doug Christian, a Windsor sales and marketing executive who coordinated the drive to save the fireworks show.
Organizers are still looking to raise at least $6,500 more to cover all the costs, but with the help of businesses around the Town Green and the high school boosters club they are certain they will meet the goal.
“We are all cautiously optimistic they can pull it off,” said Windsor Town Manager Matt Mullan. “If anyone can do it, we believe they can.”
The Town Council three weeks ago canceled the fireworks show, staged on the night of July 3, because of budget constraints.
But Christian, with the blessing of his bosses at Harkey Construction in Windsor, decided to lead an effort to save the fireworks, which are launched at Keiser Park and seen by an estimated 20,000 people who gather in surrounding neighborhoods, parks and nearby Windsor High School.
Christian said he’s passionate about saving the fireworks display. “It’s all about paying tribute to people who have sacrificed and left their families to go off in wars and defend our freedoms, and the fact of the sacrifice our forefathers made for us to become an independent nation.”
Along with Ty Marestein, an executive with Mary’s Pizza Shack, the two are hitting up businesses and potential donors with e-mails and phone calls. They also are enlisting volunteers to help raise money, monitor activities at the fireworks show and clean up afterward.
“It’s a killer display. It’s free,” Marestein said of Windsor’s show and the reason it has been popular.
But it costs to stage the event ó a bare minimum of $14,500 for the fireworks. And there are other expenses.
On Wednesday, organizers will go the Town Council to ask for a contribution of town services valued at about $4,500 to help with traffic control, barricades and use of police and public works personnel.
Town Manager Mullan said he will recommend the council approve the request.
A pyrotechnics company is booked. The fireworks will be set off from Keiser Park, but spectators will be funneled to the high school.
Organizers said they would like to raise another $10,000 to ensure the cost of the festivities is fully covered. That includes insurance, portable toilets, light towers, and garbage dumpsters.
Any extra money raised will go toward next year’s larger fireworks “extravaganza” as well as the boosters club, which supports high school sports and is lending its non-profit status to the event.
Meanwhile, several businesses around Windsor’s Town Green will put out donation cans to help raise money. They include KC’s Downtown Grill, Powell’s Sweet Shoppe and David’s Hot Dogs. Mary’s Pizza Shack and Harkey Construction also are taking donations.
Checks can be mailed to Windsor High School Boosters, 8868 Lakewood drive, P.O. Box 148, Windsor 95492.
The Press Democrat
Original News Article