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Future of July 4th fireworks flickering

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:51 PM

The Norwalk VFW might be the last hope the city has of saving the annual Fourth of July fireworks display this year.

Norwalk Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Gary Felter said Norwalk Safety- Service Director Dale Sheppard contacted him a week ago about putting on the display this year. Felter plans to meet with other VFW members April 11 and see if the organization can afford the fireworks and find the people to work and guard them during the display.

In January, the Norwalk Jaycees decided the organization would be "going in a different direction" and would not put on the fireworks display at the Huron County Fairgrounds, after having done so for the last few years.

"We're rebuilding the club with a lot of new members, and going in a fresh direction, where we want to dedicate ourselves to serving the community year-round, rather than expending so much of our time and resources on a single project, like the fireworks," Jaycees President Andrea Smith said in January.

The fireworks cost about $13,000 and the Jaycees often struggled to raise enough money. The city budgets about $3,000 each year to help pay for the display, and the Jaycees pay for the rest through various fundraisers and donations. Last year was especially difficult the organization put out a plea for help in June with about a week of fundraising time left, having only $7,000 through city money and fundraisers and still needing $6,000. The organization did eventually get the $6,000.

"We're very proud of the work we've done on the fireworks in the past, and we have a lot of great memories from those summers. But with the trouble we've had raising money the last few years, we just feel it's not an effective use of our volunteer time, as a club," Smith said in January.

Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said she spoke with several organizations in an attempt to save the display but prior to learning about the VFW's offer to look into it she was prepared to say it did not look as if the city would have fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Fireworks or not, Norwalk will have a Firelands Symphony Orchestra concert somewhere in the city that night, Lesch said.

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