Warner Robins fireworks fundraising at critical point

mstucka@macon.comMarch 20, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- The next few weeks will be critical to getting the Independence Day Celebration going, event co-chairman Ken McCall said Thursday.

McCall spoke Thursday after the Downtown Development Authority, which he chairs, authorized the event co-chairmen to negotiate a contract with a producer. McCall said he and the other co-chairman, longtime event organizer Allen Tatman, could hire a producer by early next week. That person or organization would develop a plan for the event, secure musicians and execute the plan for the Independence Day Celebration, McCall said.

The Downtown Development Authority also organized volunteers into committees, so they’ll know what their responsibilities are and can continue working without another full meeting of the authority.

The success or failure of this year’s event could depend on the next few weeks.

“We need to give ourselves several weeks of fundraising. Once we really get down to brass tacks with the producer to get a target (price) number to shoot for, the bare minimums for fireworks and a notable musical act, then we’ll be able to say ‘OK, we need this amount or we’re pulling the plug,’ ” McCall said.

Sponsorship packages are finalized and need to be printed and presented to potential donors, he said.

The event’s cost has been estimated at $100,000 to $150,000. The city of Warner Robins already agreed to contribute $30,000.

Tatman, of the Civitan Club, had long organized the event with the Air Force Reserve Command. The military pulled out of the regular event last year after budget cutbacks.

Last year, the musical act was twice rescheduled and ultimately canceled due to weather. The fireworks were launched in August.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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