BRATTLEBORO — Despite being shorter than previous years, spectators at Brattleboro's Fourth of July fireworks celebration actually got more than their money's worth.
"There were 18 more shells than last year for the same price," said Carol Lolatte, the director of Brattleboro's Department of Recreation and Parks. "The shorter-than-usual fireworks show was because of quicker shooting of multiple shells, an anomaly that will be corrected next year, and not a lack of money, although we're always collecting for the future."
According to Kevin O'Connor, a member of the Brattleboro Goes Fourth Citizens Committee, the cost of the Fourth of July celebration was supported entirely by citizens and civic and corporate donors, including Brattleboro's Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, which covered all the costs of the parade for a second year in a row. Other donors included the Brattleboro Brewers Festival, Brattleboro Reformer, C&S Wholesale Grocers, G.S. Precision Inc., Holstein Association, The Richards Group and Sovernet Communications. The fireworks fundraising partner was Brattleboro Savings & Loan. And sponsors at the American Legion Brattleboro Post 5 included Brown and Roberts Hardware, Dead River Company, Mondo Mediaworks, Sam's Outdoor Outfitters and Vermont Country Deli.
Lolatte said on July 6, she made a call to Northstar Fireworks about the duration of the fireworks, which was about 15 minutes shorter than last year.
"I asked 'What happened? Did something go wrong.'"
Lolatte learned the shooter for the show had some flexibility and rather than spreading out the shots over 30 minutes, decided to concentrate the shots for a more intense show over a shorter time period.
"We got our money's worth," she said. "We had a fabulous 11-minute show rather than the typical show that runs 20 to 25 minutes. And everything I am hearing is it was a great show, just a little short."
Donors contributed $5,000 for the show this year, said Lolatte. In the past, Entergy, which operated the now-shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, used to fund the show.
"It's all by donation now," said O'Connor. "There are no taxpayers dollars involved and whatever people contribute, we spend."
Contributions for next year's celebration need to be made by February 2017, said Lolatte, so that the show can be paid for in advance. To make a donation of $1, $5 or more, stop by the Recreation and Parks office in the Gibson Aiken Building on Main Street.
"People really gave this year," said O'Connor. "We met our fundraising target and we are super-appreciative."