by Jason Zandri
If you’re a regular reader of “From Wallingford,” you’re probably keenly aware of the efforts to restore Wallingford’s annual 4th of July Fireworks celebration. Back in 2009, funding for the decades-old celebration was pulled from the town budget. The sitting Town Council at the time restored the funding from surpluses so that the event could still be held.
In 2010 it was a different story. Funding was cut and there was no ability to restore it — the show was cancelled.
At that time, I decided to take the effort out to the people to fundraise the entire amount for the cost of the fireworks themselves and all the city services — police, fire, public works, etc. I was quickly joined by Councilor Craig Fishbein and a short list of other volunteers.
Donations came from John and Jane Wallingford almost immediately. Some families that could went way above and beyond the call. Kim and Christopher Dellaselva contributed $1,000 in honor of their unborn child. Toby and Susan Rhodes held a tag sale and donated all of the proceeds raised, $500 in total, to the cause.
These large donations were important, but so were every single dollar and all the loose change given by everyone. Nothing alone was going to matter by itself but all of it together made a difference.
Donations also came in from local businesses large and small. There were a couple of major sponsorships, and the largest donation came in at $5,000 from Choate Rosemary Hall. There was also a huge publicity push by the Record-Journal, which, when combined with everything else, contributed to the desired end result — the 2010 celebration was saved.
Once provided to the residents of Wallingford “free” of charge (actually, funded by tax dollars at the rate of about $1 per taxpayer) the Wallingford Fireworks Celebration of the birth of our great nation was now and forever more going to be a grass roots effort.
The Wallingford Fireworks Fund is now a recognized 501 (C) (3) organization as designated by the IRS. Our Tax ID number is 27-2576599. We are fast approaching our 2011 deadline and time is of the essence. Funds need to be supplied to the town by the end of May — basically a week from the time you read this, on Sunday morning.
We have a good portion of the money already collected, but we are still about $6,000 short for the 2011 event as of May 18th. If we are to have the show for this July 4th holiday, we will need to collect the remaining funds before the month is out. If not, the funds will stay parked and we’ll keep them set aside for 2012. I know Wallingford can do it. We did so last year with less lead time, so I know we can this year.
If you have any capacity and/or desire to help us with the efforts in keeping this grand Wallingford family tradition alive, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Any donation, big or small, is going to help us close the gap to this goal. Every dime collected matters, and is as equally important as every $20 bill collected. If you can and wish to donate, you can do so directly via PayPal on our website at wallingfordfireworks.org. Alternatively, you can send us your donations made out to the Wallingford fireworks Fund at: Wallingford Fireworks Fund c/o 35 Lincoln Drive EXT Wallingford CT 06492
Thank you for supporting our efforts.
Thank you as well for doing your part in making Wallingford more than just a great New England town. By getting involved, you’re adding your own character to Wallingford’s personality as a great New England community. That cannot be bought nor paid for — that can only be freely given, and Wallingford residents do so in great abundance.