UPDATE: Wallingford Fireworks SAVED!
On the way to perform my weekly task at the Wallingford Stop & Shop today, I saw a man standing near the entrance soliciting donations, a huge water cooler bottle in front of him that was filling quickly with offerings. This in itself is not unusual; every Sunday you can see a bevy of donation seekers camped at the entrance to the store, from the VFW to the Girl Scouts, various school organizations and civic groups. But I recognized this man as I started past him, and I did a double take and stopped short.
Jason Zandri, author of From the Mind of Jason Zandri and one of Wallingford’s staunchest advocates, was hard at work at his latest cause, raising money to allow Wallingford to continue their 50-year tradition of a Fourth of July fireworks display. Why, you ask? Well, it seems like our Mayor has stricken the funding for the fireworks event from the town budget, just as he did last year. While the money to stage the fireworks last year was obtained from savings on a renegotiated insurance contract and the display went on as scheduled, there seems to be no last minute reprieve for the event this year, so Jason has taken it upon himself to coordinate a concerted effort to raise the needed $33,000…all within the next 45 days.
The sad part is, Jason told me that Wallingford has about $1,000,000 in reserve (I’m not sure of the source of these funds or what they’re earmarked for ), so why couldn’t the town use some of that money to fund the fireworks? Plus, there are other free events such as the Wallingford Summer Symphony series and The Taste of Wallingford that have not had their funds cut, so why cut the funds for the fireworks display? In a strange twist of fate, our sister city, Wallingford (Seattle), Washington, was also oon the verge of canceling their fireworks for the first time in 46 years, until they were saved by corporate sponsors Microsoft and Starbucks, among others (see related stories below).
The event’s stagers, Telstar Display Fireworks, needs to know by June 1st that the town will commit to having a fireworks display, otherwise there won’t be enough time to coordinate it. So, Jason has kicked his effort into overdrive to come up with the resources to save Wallingford’s fireworks. He has planned a Save Wallingford’s Fireworks dinner at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn, owned by his uncle, Jim Zandri. He has a lot of irons in the fire to pull this effort off, but he still needs a lot of help.
To read more about what Jason is doing and what you can do to help, please go to his blog, email him at Jason@Zandri.net, or give him a call at (203) 294-4647. You can also join his Facebook group, located here. Every little bit helps and he’ll be very grateful for anything you can do.
The average attendance at Wallingford’s fireworks show has been estimated at 10,000 –15,000. If that is true, and everyone gave $3 to the cause, we’d have it made. While I was chatting with Jason I managed to slip a fiver into the bottle, happy to contribute to such a worthy cause. How about you?
Brother, can you spare a dime?