Warner Robins DDA to host this year’s Independence Day Celebration

Concert, fireworks could still be scrapped if major fundraising falls short

mstucka@macon.comFebruary 25, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- The show must go on, especially if it’s the Independence Day Celebration in a city that named itself for a general.

In a roving 80-minute discussion Tuesday, the Warner Robins Downtown Development Authority talked about how it could put on the Independence Day Celebration this year, the second year a show would be done without organizational help from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

Last year’s concert, organized by the Civitan Club, was rained out twice before it was canceled altogether, and the fireworks portion of the show didn’t happen until August.

Allen Tatman, a florist who has helped set up the show for more than a decade, said the DDA and its partners could help bring fresh ideas to the music-and-fireworks efforts of the past.

But time is ticking, and Tatman and another volunteer, Jay Flesher, plan to develop sponsorship packages in the coming days. That could help establish a budget for the celebration, which could be between $100,000 and $150,000, Tatman said.

DDA member Gena DeBoe emphasized the short timeline to organize the event.

“We’re starting at zero here, 16 weeks out. We don’t want anything to blow up on us, on our board,” she said.

Tatman said if major fundraising falls short, the event can be canceled altogether. He was still optimistic about success.

“Yes, it can happen in 16 weeks, but we are behind the eight ball,” he said.

City Council has indicated it wants the Independence Day Celebration to continue but did not try to settle the details of who would host the event, sponsor it or organize it.

DDA Chairman Ken McCall said the authority intends to be the host for the celebration. He also noted a short timeline.

“We’re going to have to hit the ground running,” he said.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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