Sugar House fireworks about to fizzle
Funding • Fourth of July show organizer says sponsorships are at issue.
Published: April 9, 2014 04:42PM
Updated: April 9, 2014 09:04PM
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(File photo)

The annual 4th of July Sugar House fireworks show is sputtering.

If it doesn’t get an infusion of cash by Friday, the show won’t go on, according to organizer Scott Workman.

In an unofficial vote Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Council determined not to fund the show beyond the $15,000 it has already pledged.

“That’s quite disappointing,” Workman said Wednesday of the council’s decision not to up its ante.

Presently, Workman said he has commitments of about $40,000 to put on the July 4th celebration. But a “bare bones” fireworks display will cost about $65,000, he said.

The Sugar House 4th of July fireworks were traditionally put on by the Sugar House Park Authority, which runs the park. But in 2009, the authority withdrew its sponsorship of the show.

That’s when Workman took on the responsibility for the annual program that attracts about 35,000 people.

But without more money by Friday, Workman said he will have to tell sponsors and vendors to seek opportunities elsewhere.

“I’m still hopeful. I have talked to some potential sponsors,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s cancelled. I’ll make that decision Friday.”

City Councilwoman Lisa Adams, who represents Sugar House, said Salt Lake City is doing its part with a $15,000 donation. She complemented Workman’s efforts and said she “would not like the community to lose [the fireworks].”

But she added that “some long-range planning needs to take place. I think the ball has been dropped a little bit.”

Councilman Stan Penfold noted that for the past several years last-minute pleas for funding have been answered. But such crisis-averting rescues are growing old, he said. “I’m having a reduced appetite for this.”

Workman said he began fundraising last year not long after the July 4th show. But two major sponsors pulled out and a third cut its donation in half.

“I’ve learned I have to start [fundraising] as early as the day after the show. I had sponsors in place for this year as early as August last year,” he said. “This year was a situation that was out of my hands.”

Donations to the fireworks show can be made at www.sugarhousefireworks.com.

csmart@sltrib.com