As printed in the Record Journal Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By Tiffany Diorio
WALLINGFORD— After the Fourth of July fireworks were cut from the town budget a year ago, Democrat Jason Zandri and Republican Craig Fishbein took it upon themselves to bring them back.
They started the Wallingford Fireworks Fund, a nonprofit that accepts private donations. Zandri recently announced on his blog, http://zandri.net/Blog, that the team has opened a PayPal account so people can make donations online at www.wallingfordfireworks.org.
“One of the things that people had mentioned last year was if there was a way for people to donate online, so we wanted to make sure we got it this year,” Zandri, who works in information technology, said Monday.
He said that on the day he registered the account last week he received a $5 donation.
For this year’s fireworks, the fund has already collected $2,065.85, but with the goal increased to $40,000 from $30,000, they’ll need as many donations as possible.
“I don’t know how many people donate online these days, especially locally, but I think that they’ll do fine,” said Town Council Chairman Robert Parisi. “I believe they’ll make up the money.”
Although they now are accepting money online, they still intends to fundraise in front of stores such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Stop & Shop, as they did last year. They’re awaiting permission from the businesses.
Zandri says that the PayPal option gives people without cash to spare the ability to give.
“I’ll put a flier in their hand with the PayPal information, which gives them another opportunity to make a donation,” he said. Fishbein could not be reached for comment Monday.
Parisi, who has encouraged Zandri and Fishbein from the beginning, said he plans to help collect money for them.
“It’s a lot of work, but it can be done,” he said. Zandri said online donors get a receipt they can use when filing their tax returns.
The fundraising team will have a dinner similar to last year’s on March 18 as well as a concert fundraising night on May 6. Both will take place at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn on Route 5.
Tickets to the fundraisers will be available online, but they’re not available yet, as ticket prices have not been set. Zandri expects ticket sales to begin in February.
Parisi, a Republican, said he remembers going to the Wallingford fireworks with his nieces and nephews when they were toddlers and would like to see the tradition continue.
“The fireworks is a traditional event and it’s something Wallingford has always done,” he said.