Fireworks fund $2,000 short of goal

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, the anxiety level over contributions for the annual Smoke On the Water fireworks display is also rapidly diminishing.

On Wednesday event coordinators said they were within $2,000 of meeting their goal.

According to Clovis businessman Tom Martin, the city’s businesses and organizations have always responded with enough to pay for the fireworks display — for which he has initially committed the money the last dozen years.

“I think one year I might have had to take some money out of pocket, but we had good contributions the next year. So the net effect is that I haven’t had to shell out any money (to cover costs personally),” Martin said. “But, in 12 or 13 years, however long we’ve been doing it, the community has been supportive and receptive to the fireworks themselves.”

The Smoke On the Water fireworks celebration, set to begin around 9 p.m. on Independence Day, takes place at Greene Acres Park — just across 21st Street from Martin’s Taco Box restaurant.

Every year, Martin says he signs the contract with a fireworks provider to pay $20,000 for the display. To cover other miscellaneous (such as portable toilets and advertising) and administrative costs, the goal of the organizers was to raise $25,000.

“We had a real big donation yesterday (Tuesday) from American Legion Post 25,” Martin said. “They donated $1500. I think that’s the largest contribution we’ve ever received.”

The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce, according to Martin, solicits funds for the annual event and accepts the contributions.

“We sent out several mailouts to people who traditionally support the Smoke On the Water effort, and then to all the Chamber members,” said Ernie Kos, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce.

“With all that’s gone on the last week, with the announcement about Cannon, the celebration is going to start on July 2nd (with an event at the city’s civic center) and continue right on through July Fourth with Smoke On the Water,” Kos said. “I’m pretty confident that the money will come.”