Rising costs jeopardize Oak Harbor’s fireworks celebration

Mar 30, 2022 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Expecting a 30% increase in the cost of fireworks and aiming to avert a fireworks fizzle this year, Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce seeks community support to overcome nearly $5,000 in additional expenses for its July 4th Independence Day Celebration.

“Oak Harbor has a history of providing quality, family-friendly community events,” said Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Valerie Winterfield. “The Chamber is committed to continuing our annual tradition of having the area’s best fireworks. Amid inflation and supply chain issues, the village really needs everyone’s help this year.”

Winterfield noted the Village’s “locally famous” fireworks show, a product of American Fireworks of Hudson, Ohio, is considered one of the finest displays in the area. Thousands of spectators from all over Northwest Ohio attend the free, half-day community event, which includes food vendors, local entertainment, the Apple Festival Royalty Duck Race on the river, and inflatables for children.

“It’s all old-fashioned fun, and popular with family and friends hanging out and celebrating our nation’s independence,” said Winterfield. Oak Harbor’s Fireworks Fund Reverse Raffle will take place May 14 at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $50 and include dinner and a chance to win more than $5,000 in cash and prizes, with a grand prize of $2,500. Tickets may be purchased from Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce or any board member.

“Supporter Stars” may be purchased at local businesses and the Chamber office from Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) through June. All proceeds go to the fireworks fund. The Chamber is also working with the High School Student Council to facilitate a school fundraiser.

Donations may be made directly to the fireworks fund by dropping off or mailing a donation to the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, 161 W. Water Street, Oak Harbor, OH 43449. For more information email Chamber@OakHarborOhio.net or call 419-898-0479.

Port Clinton City Hall officials are also finding themselves having a Fireworks fuss, and have created “A Mile of Money” fundraiser that features a wide variety of prizes for its downtown Fourth of July fireworks show. Estimating it takes 5,280 feet of dollar bills to raise the needed extra $10,560 for this year’s event, the city is looking for bucks to be donated to the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce, 110 Madison St., Port Clinton, Ohio 43452.

According to American Pyrotechnics Association Executive Director Julie Heckman, backyard consumer fireworks prices have “more than doubled in sales since 2020,” due in part to public shows being cancelled. Approximately 16,000 Independence Day fireworks displays typically occurred pre-Covid-19 around the nation. Despite lighter Covid-19 restrictions, significantly fewer public shows are expected to return across the United States.

Predominately a product of China, fireworks compete for space on cargo ships. Staffing shortages in the shipping and trucking industries, as well as factory shutdowns, have contributed to product delays and cost increases for both fireworks production companies and backyard consumers.

Each year the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce raises funds for its Independence Day event, but more costly fireworks shows has them asking for help from businesses and individuals to maintain the same quality of show.

Bill Howey, owner of Howey’s House of Brews on Water Street, supports the Independence Day activities because they bring people to the community and provide a tangible boom to the Oak Harbor economy.

“Whenever you can get foot traffic, it’s a positive,” Howey said. “July 4th is one of my two biggest days of the year.”

“A majority of the funding for the event has always come from businesses and annual sponsors,” added Winterfield. “With requests for donations coming in daily, it is not fair to rely on the businesses alone. We need support from the community members to help keep this event great.”

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