Donations wanted for fireworks shows in San Luis Obispo County

Tribune file photo by Jayson Mellom

While a lack of funds fizzled Paso Robles’ fireworks show, other shows in San Luis Obispo County will go on as planned.

But that’s not to say organizers of those July 4 shows — in Pismo Beach, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Cambria — wouldn’t appreciate a few extra dollars thrown their way.

“We’re still accepting donations,” said Rick Roquet, president of the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce.

Paso Robles City Manager Jim App confirmed Wednesday that no show is planned. The private event was an all-day affair at Barney Schwartz Park, which attracted about 15,000 people each year.

City leaders said they would need an additional $20,000 to $30,000 to pay for the $75,000 event. The costs include a $40,000 fireworks display, overtime costs for police, public works and recreation staff, traffic control and portable toilets, among other expenses.

Meanwhile, the Cayucos chamber raises money for its roughly $20,000 show by selling raffle tickets at $150 each, and then it covers the rest of the cost.

Roquet said the chamber used to sell 200 tickets, but donations have decreased over the past two to three years.

“The fireworks won’t be 100 percent paid for this year, but they’re pretty close,” he said.

The estimated $20,000 cost of Pismo Beach’s show is split between the city and the chamber, though any donations the chamber receives cut its cost.

“We’re paying for it but would love to be able to cover it with donations,” said Suellen Iness, the chamber’s interim CEO. She said the chamber would still like to raise $5,000.

The chamber also raised money by selling reserved, VIP seating on the pier and the boardwalk near the pier for $25 each. Seats can still be reserved by calling the chamber.

In Morro Bay, a nonprofit group was formed in August solely to organize that city’s show. Morro Bay 4th Inc. took over from the city’s Chamber of Commerce after last year’s laser light show, which some business owners said was a flop.

The group hoped to raise $30,000 for the show and put any extra donations toward next year’s event, board President Jeff Eckles said.

About $18,000 will go toward the fireworks; the rest will pay for city-provided police and fire services, insurance and entertainment.

The nonprofit has raised nearly $40,000, he said.

“I think people savor the tradition of fireworks,” Eckles said. “I think it motivated people to donate.”

Donations are still being solicited for the Cambria fireworks show, estimated to cost about $11,000, said Reginald Perkins of American Legion Post No. 432.

The amount of money collected in cans in businesses around Cambria, as well as donations from businesses, has not yet been totaled, he said.