‘Does Seattle still want fireworks?’ Annual donation drive launches

(7/4/12 photo by Jamie Kinney)
Again this year, half a million dollars worth of sponsorships/donations are being sought for the Family 4th fireworks show at Lake Union – the city’s only big Independence Day display since 4th of Jul-Ivar’s called it quits after the 2008 show (this’ll be the fifth year without Elliott Bay fireworks). The official announcement – and how to donate, if you’re inclined – is ahead:

For a quarter of a century, the Family 4th at Lake Union has brought the community together to celebrate our nation’s independence and the joy of summer in Seattle with a day of free family friendly events and a spectacular fireworks show. Long-time producer One Reel reminds the community today of the need for broad-based constituent funding in order to produce Seattle’s fireworks show. Starting today, March 5th, and ending on March 31st, individuals and businesses have an opportunity to raise the necessary funds to make sure that this Seattle mainstay is a success in 2013 and beyond. Does Seattle still want fireworks?

“One Reel is proud to produce this iconic event that serves so many people from all walks of life,” said One Reel Executive Director Jon Stone. “Seattle’s fireworks celebration is truly unique in its nationally recognized display in addition to its location on Lake Union. We love that Independence Day is a holiday where everyone comes together, no matter where you’re from or what your background is, and the Family 4th is the epitome of our community joining together in unity.”

Already signed on to show their financial support in 2013 are Starbucks, Talking Rain, and Tom Douglas, providing a starting foundation towards the goal of $500,000. Talks with other local companies are in progress.

“Lake Union has historically always done what its name says—it unites us,” said the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). “Seattleites have been living, working, and playing on Lake Union for hundreds of years, and the Family 4th has become the centerpiece of that experience. As newcomers to the South Lake Union neighborhood, we at MOHAI are dedicated to supporting the community’s efforts to preserve this celebration, and look forward to watching the fireworks from our new home for many years to come.”

The Family 4th has become one of our city’s most cherished and unifying annual gatherings, and is generally thought of as a public utility that citizens have grown to expect and look forward to. Since 2010, non-profit producer One Reel has waived any net profit from the event, viewing the value it brings to the community as in line with the organization’s mission and goals, and managed to reduce the budget significantly from the historic title-sponsor model which was no longer sustainable. They continue to develop the new public participatory funding model that incorporates a variety of individual and corporate donors of all sizes.

The annual event reaches 500,000 people: 50,000 at the beautiful Gas Works Park, 250,000 around and on Lake Union and another 200,000 through the television broadcast, and costs approximately $1 per person served to produce. This is a bargain when compared to other family entertainment options. If the funding goal is reached, One Reel will enthusiastically bring their expertise to produce this nationally recognized Independence Day celebration this July.

The donation link is on the Family 4th website.

26 Replies to "'Does Seattle still want fireworks?' Annual donation drive launches"

  • DW March 5, 2013 (8:18 am)

    SO when is Ivar’s going to revive their show?

  • AG March 5, 2013 (9:14 am)

    Meh. I’m not a fireworks lover, and definitely not a fan of the number of drunk drivers coming home from these events. I’m just as happy to have a block party and shoot off a few fireworks in the neighborhood.

    That said, I understand that lots of other people consider it not-optional.

  • old timer March 5, 2013 (9:21 am)

    They talk about $1.00 per person cost yet the donation amounts start at $100.00.
    I guess I’ll keep my five bucks.

    • WSB March 5, 2013 (9:24 am)

      I just looked. There’s an “other (amount)” box right below the $100/etc. list.

  • Carrie P. March 5, 2013 (10:25 am)

    Personally, I find them to be a big waste of money, but they’re pretty, so whatever. What I really hate are the neighborhood fireworks because of the effect on my animals–the sudden, loud noises really freak them out, I’m thinking of drugging them to keep them calm next year. :(

  • over it March 5, 2013 (10:32 am)

    fireworks are bad for the environment, we should ban all fireworks and save the sound and trees.
    We are choking out our trees with all the smoke and the trash that goes in the sound on the 4th.

  • AG March 5, 2013 (10:59 am)

    Quite frankly, I hate the loud booms as much as my animals do, if not more. But I was trying to not be a TOTAL scrooge. :)

  • JanS March 5, 2013 (11:12 am)

    Fireworks in the neighborhood = illegal if in Seattle

    over it…there are no fireworks over the sound…so no trash from it in the sound..

  • Jtk March 5, 2013 (11:27 am)

    Trash from fireworks in the sound? or days of raw sewage leaking from condo pipes and barton overflow into the sound?…… The sound is gross, anyone that swims in any of it will more than likely get sick. Sad really…. all of it… Fireworks are a waste of time… it is something to take the kids to…. oooohhh ahhhhhh… at least I can do something with my kids….. if you have seen ONE firework show… you have seen them all… waste of time, and tons of kids and animals alike are afraid and traumatized by them…

  • AEL March 5, 2013 (11:30 am)

    Getting to lake union or finding parking is just not worth it.

  • ChrisW March 5, 2013 (11:36 am)

    Carrie P, a little lavendar spray and a good hiding spot helps my cat with fireworks and Blue Angels (we lived near Gas Works the past few summers)

  • old timer March 5, 2013 (12:02 pm)

    WSB: I saw that “other amount” at the bottom of the list.
    I guess my comment was triggered by the mind-set of the solicitors of the donations.

    The text is all about ‘community’ and ‘family’ and ‘tradition’, and how noble their efforts are at making this event possible, but they want/need a broader participation.

    Once you hit the website, they indicate thru their presentation that you are not really welcome unless you can afford the basic “suggested” $100 minimum.
    Servants with their chump change, go to the back door.

    Passive/aggressive elitism or just unconscious?
    It just hit me the wrong way.

    Sorry, not much else to do this a.m. except to find fault.

  • Alki Area March 5, 2013 (12:43 pm)


  • sb in ws March 5, 2013 (1:04 pm)

    Carrie P. You may want to get a Thundershirt which is like a jacket that fits tightly around them helping to calm them. Pet Pros sells them. Worked great on my little one last year.

  • J March 5, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    I would contribute if they were over Elliot Bay. But I can’t see them very well at Lake Union.

  • DTK March 5, 2013 (2:39 pm)

    I have a better idea. Do some shopping at one of the local dispensaries and then buy a kaleidoscope.

  • dsa March 5, 2013 (3:23 pm)

    I’d rather it be over Elliot bay, other than that, I don’t see an issue with the donation form. It clearly states: “One Reel gratefully accepts contributions at all levels, and all donations are fully tax-deductible.”
    They could have included a paypal option, but USPS is one.

  • Noelle March 5, 2013 (11:37 pm)

    The city could have a fund raiser for an Elliott Bay show too. THE MORE THE MERRIER!

  • Jennie March 6, 2013 (7:16 am)

    How about using the funds that will be available since the city won’t be able to bring in the Blue Angels for Seafair?

  • Carol O. March 6, 2013 (11:07 am)

    Fund raiser is a great idea instead of just one business paying for the show. A little more work for people but a real pay out and most likely huge turn out of spectators.

  • comment March 6, 2013 (11:20 am)

    What a bunch of scrooges. Hey while we are at it, let’s get rid of Christmas. It is bad for the environment, and once you’ve experienced one Christmas there is no point to experience another one. Jesus, lighten up people!

  • West Seattle Wanderer March 6, 2013 (7:23 pm)

    Why don’t they just charge a nominal fee for everyone entering Gasworks?

  • SS5 March 7, 2013 (5:19 am)


  • comment March 7, 2013 (10:11 am)

    First, let us transcend the silliness of using all caps.

  • cj March 7, 2013 (3:42 pm)

    Seems to me that most people don’t get to see them due to tall buildings or geographic highs and lows. I don’t see the point of spending that much money for a minority of the city population to see fireworks. Would rather see the fund for it parceled out to neighborhoods to have smaller shows so more people can enjoy the celebration. The west side of West Seattle for instance is pretty sad on the 4th of July unless you go to the far north or far south ends.

  • datamuse March 9, 2013 (8:02 pm)

    Uh, SS5? Family Fourth IS an all day event with food, etc. I volunteered for it years ago.

Sorry, comment time is over.