Fourth of July Fireworks Came Through For 2012 Due To Individual Donors, Social Media, Fruitport Lions

Andrew Trzaska | June 12, 2012

Muskegon County will see fireworks on the Fourth of July, mostly due to individual donors, the Fruitport Lions Club and a social media push by District 11 county commissioner Bob Scolnik.

Under two weeks ago, Scolnik put a message out on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to donate to put on a fireworks presentation on July 4.

“When I saw it wasn’t going to happen, it struck me that no one was stepping up,” said Scolnik. “I put it up on Facebook. It all happened through social media.”

In the next two weeks he was overwhelmed with responses, as Scolnik noted at Muskegon’s City Commission meeting on Tuesday:

“I had just plain people, not rich people… who called me up or sent me an email saying ‘I’ll give you $1,000’, just to make it happen.”

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County agreed to match contributions from donors up to $10,000 to reach Scolnik’s $20,000 goal. Through today, Scolnik indicated that the cause has raised almost $13,000, putting the total beyond what he initially aimed to raise.

Also joining the cause was the Fruitport Lions Club, which operates Fruitport Old Fashioned Days. The yearly Memorial Day weekend festival holds two nights of fireworks, and have done it at less cost than the $40,000 usually spent by Muskegon Summer Celebration. The Lions will be the ones to contract with the fireworks company.

Scolnik attempted to manage expectations of the scale of the fireworks presentation:

“Probably not going to be as good for Summer Celebration because they spend $40,000”

Mayor Steve Warmington lauded the Fruitport Lions Club’s work on this cause as well another recent need in the community:

“This is an organization that stepped forward and is raising money for the families of that tragic motorcycle accident that happened over in Wisconsin several days ago.”

Specifics about the fireworks are still in the works, but Tuesday’s commission meeting indicated that the event organizers would be paying the city for police and staff support instead of asking for donation of services.

Scolnik also stated that donors would not get preferential seating:

“Nobody’s getting anything special, there’s no VIP. This is for the community.”

Commissioner Scolnik indicated that an alternate date was being determined in case July 4 is rained out.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst