Kailua Rallies To Save Fireworks

Organizers Racing To Raise $40,000

 UPDATED 4:33 AM HST Jun 15, 2009
KAILUA, Hawaii -

Kailua residents are rallying the community to help save the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

The 60-year-old tradition could come to an end because of a lack of money amid a bad economy.

The event is three weeks away, so community leaders are racing against the clock to raise $40,000 so the show can go on.

A group called Save Kailua Fireworks is asking for donations on its Web site: savekailuafireworks.com.

A couple dozen businesses and individuals have offered donations to keep the event alive, including Formaggio Grill.

"We're a big part of Kailua and this has been a tradition for the past 60 years," said Patrick Okubo, managing partner. "So it's an important thing that we want to keep up."

Okubo said Formaggio has pledged to donate proceeds from sales on the next two Mondays, June 22 and 29.

"We're going to donate 10 percent of all the proceeds for anybody who comes and says we're here to save the fireworks for Kailua," he said.

Okubo pledges support despite the fact that July 4 is the restaurant's slowest day of the year.

"To be honest, most people go to the beach," he said. "They go to Lanikai. For that particular day, it's counterproductive for us. In the long run, the bigger picture, it helps us because it helps the community."

Businesses are working hand in hand with Kailua residents who are spreading the word any way they can.

"Remind folks, hey -- these businesses are getting involved, so you know, channel your shopping here for these special things to help buoy up the funding that is going to come out of this," Kailua resident Briggs Christie said. "In a bad economy, you need to have these events that are fun and family-oriented. The Fourth of July parade is such a big thing here. The Fourth of July fireworks -- people camp out all night almost to get a good seat. And to take it away is just one more disappointment and one more thing that makes you feel like, 'When are we going to get over this and through this?'"

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