Let’s all pitch in for fireworks

If you picked up this issue of the Custer County Chronicle you saw the front page long before you got to this page, so you know that the City of Custer’s annual fireworks show is in danger of going away due to lack of funding. Simply put, we cannot allow this to happen.
Custer’s fireworks show is one of, if not the, best fireworks show in the Black Hills. The Custer Volunteer Fire Department does a good job of putting on the show, which like everything else, is continually rising in cost. As such, it keeps falling more and more into the red, and it is our fire department that is shouldering the burden of the loss for putting on the show. Our volunteer fire department should be the last entity that is footing the bill for this show. No, that should be anybody who wants to see the show continue.
If you look at the crush of people in town during July 4, the highlight of which is the fireworks show, we know that many, many people want to see the fireworks. People flock to Pageant Hill, high vantage points, anywhere they can get a view of the fireworks really. The town is packed when the show starts. If everybody who watched the show gave a dollar the show would already be funded for next year. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
We will be the first to admit, we haven’t always been the best about donating to the fireworks show. The fire department passes around the boot the night of the show to solicit donations for the show, and they can also be made year-round by simply mailing a check to the fire department or even the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce and telling the chamber you want the money you are giving to go toward the annual fireworks show. Most of us don’t donate, instead leaving someone else to do it and believing the show will magically go on with or without our money. Now the fire department is flat out telling us that won’t be the case.
The fire department’s message is simple: If the community wants the fireworks show to continue, it’s time to chip in. The department needs to raise $25,000 to make sure the show happens, and haven’t raised nearly that so far. It’s time for all of us to kick in. We pledge to donate to the cause. Will you? We know this community can raise a lot of money in short order when it puts its mind to do so. We have seen it so many times in the past. It’s time for us to do it again. We can’t imagine a July 4 in Custer without fireworks exploding over Pageant Hill. It just wouldn’t be the same.
The fire department has enough to worry about when it comes to funding. It has to constantly upgrade equipment. It needs to keep up to date on its apparatuses. It is in the middle of trying to building a new fire hall, something that is long overdue. It cannot, and should not, make up the difference between the money raised for fireworks and the final bill.
Many businesses are already stepping up to the plate and organizing fundraisers. Fundraising buckets for the show can be found all over town. Let’s all pledge to put what we can in those buckets. The show must go on. This is a patriotic town that loves July 4 and the fireworks that come with it. It’s time to prove it.

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