The Cambrian

Cambria’s fireworks show was running out of money. Then these community members stepped in

Historically, Shamel Park has been packed with celebrants for the North Coast’s annual daylong festivity on July 4th, and attendance swells to the max as people pour into the park and surrounding areas to watch the fireworks that night.

For decades, individual Cambrians have ponied up to light up the Independence Day skies, but in recent years, those fundraising campaigns have been falling short, due in part to the escalating cost of the pyrotechnics. Local businesses, too, have donated in the past, but now, thanks to a new sponsorship campaign, American Legion Post No. 432 is three quarters of the way to its goal of getting some community-minded area entrepreneurs to provide a sustained source of funding for the fun.

Area residents and visitors are still strongly encouraged to donate, too. But once the final ongoing commitment slot is filled, the North Coast’s annual July 4th fireworks should be assured at least for several years. What’s missing? Organizers still hope to a spokesperson sign on for the North Coast lodging community, the way representatives of other tourism-related industries already have.

Brainstorming by Legionnaires Jim Bahringer, David Pierson and others led the two men to approach area representatives of the restaurant, winery, real estate and lodging industries, seeking exclusive sponsorship in each category for astute businessfolks willing to pony up $5,000 a year.

Three out of four categories were almost instantly filled: Linn’s for their Cambria restaurants and gift shops; Daou Winery for wines and restaurant (for the current Daou Mountain Vineyard and Winery in Adelaide and the eventual Daou Ocean facility); and Bob Kasper/The Real Estate Company of Cambria. So far, the Legion’s contacts with lodging industry reps haven’t been as fruitful, but Pierson and Bahringer remain hopeful.

So, why did the original trio agree to be sponsors?

The overriding reason, they said, was to support the community and wave the flag a bit. Kasper said that, yes, it’s an investment in business goodwill. But long before he moved to Cambria, Kasper made sure to attend the July 4th celebration every year.

“I love this town, and the fireworks are part of that.,” he said. “I don’t want them to ever go away.”

Daou officials signed up as soon as they heard that the fireworks could be in jeopardy this year, according to Maeve Pesquera, Daou senior vice president.

“This long-standing tradition is an important part of our town’s history, support for local businesses and fun for our neighbors and visitors alike,” she said. “We appreciated the local, grassroots effort to ensure the show must go on and are happy to be a small part of that.”

John Linn said he shares those opinions, but also thinks that “once in a while, people need to stop and feel something about the country they live in and the freedoms they enjoy.”

He said that Cambria’s fireworks display provides the perfect annual opportunity to do that.

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