Fireworks a go

Jason Ferguson

The skies will be alight with fireworks this July 4 in Custer, as the $25,000 fundraising goal to keep the annual show going has been met thanks to the help of community members, businesses and other people near and far.
It was only a few months ago the Custer Volunteer Fire Department issued a warning the fireworks could cease if money was not raised to pay for the $1,000-a-minute show.
Spearheaded by the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce the community answered the call, and chamber executive director Dawn Murray said $19,242 has been raised that the chamber knows of through various channels, including donations by businesses, service clubs and indivudals into buckets placed around the town by the chamber.
The Gold Pan Saloon got the ball rolling with its Bingo nights dedicated to the effort, and were soon followed by businesses such as Pizza Mill, Dacotah Bank, Custer State Farm/S&B Motors, Lynn’s Dakotamart and others who donated various amounts of money through giving or fundraising.
There has been other money given directly to the fire department, and Custer Volunteer Fire Department treasurer Selena Spring said the fire departmetnt has received another $15,513, meaing the goal has been met and surpassed.
Spring said fireworks were ordered in the amount of $25,000, although other expenses include advertising, food for fire department crews, fuel and some small other costs that will be in addition to the fireworks.
“As mentioned earlier, the department also faced a $14,600 loss from the last three years of fireworks. The extra donations will help recoup some of that loss as well,”  Spring said. “What’s not included in the extra costs is the 300 volunteer hours the firefighters put in for the show, preparing for and cleaning up after the show. These are all donated hours to our community.”
The need will continue into the following years, and the public is invited to continue to donate to future fireworks shows either through the fire department or the chamber.
“Just because we hit our goal for this year, we would love to see fundraising efforts continue right up until the fourth,” Spring said. “Any extra money we receive will go toward next years fireworks to help guarantee a show in 2025 and reduce the fundraising effort that will be needed.”
Spring said the department will still collect donations at July 4 parade along with the night of the show.
“We really appreciate the community coming together and working so hard to make this happen,” she said. “It shows just how much our July 4 fireworks show means to our community.”
The show is set for dusk (around 9:30 p.m.) July 4 at Pageant Hill.

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