When the borough council, under financial duress, withdrew funding last year from Phoenixville’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, Karen Johns shrugged, then started making phone calls. The show, she figured, must go on.
So that spring, she and the Phoenixville Town Watch set to work. And the group, through a series of fundraisers and some generous donations from local businesses and individuals, eventually raised enough money to put on a pyrotechnic display that .
“Since 1999, literally thousands people have come to Phoenixville to enjoy this spectacular display,” said Johns. “It’s a labor of love for our community. We’re a small borough, a small town, and when people band together and support an effort like this, it’s just something everyone can enjoy.”
But this year, faced with the same predicament, and with the holiday just seven weeks out, Johns is still almost $7,000 shy of her target of $14,000. She’s optimistic she’ll get there though.
“We need some help,” said Johns, fighting through laryngitis, “but we’ll make it.”
Though she’s already procured donations of $2,500 each from Phoenixville Hospital and Phoenixville Federal—the second-straight year the institutions have made contributions in that amount—Johns said that from here on out she’ll rely on individual donors to raise the funds necessary to put on the explosive show.
“We have a table in Reeves Park for the Dogwood Festival,” she said. “And we’ll also be in various other places, like the Acme and the Gateway Pharmacy.”
Johns said those interested in donating should look out for “Bucks for Bangs” containers that will be distributed in those and other stores or send a check with “Fireworks 2012” in the memo line to 140 Church Street, Phoenixville to the attention of borough manager E. Jean Krack.
She added that anyone interested in joining the fundraising effort can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ringleader also emphasized that, despite the deficit the group still faces, the $7,250 that has already been raised towards 2012’s display wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Courtney Harvey, Kristen Caperila, Bill and Susan McGinley, Michael Hill, Tony Riley, Stephanie Pontin, Kayla Johns, and Pam Gates and Bryana Gates.
“I’ve been around the block a couple times,” Johns sighed, “and I know in the past it was much easier to gather volunteers…so we’re very grateful for the ones we have.”
The 2012 Fireworks display is scheduled, tentatively, for July 4 at 9 p.m. at Friendship Field. Beverages will be available at the site, though alcohol, and dogs, are prohibited.