4th of July Fireworks Are On

Fireworks Fund exceeds goal – There will be fireworks this 4th of July

The Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Visitor Services and the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce announced that their goal to raise $50,000 to fund this year’s 4th of July fireworks has been met and exceeded. The annual fireworks show will take place on Monday, July 4, 2011 at Jetties Beach, with a rain date of Tuesday, July 5.

This annual patriotic event, enjoyed by visitors and residents alike, is essential to Nantucket’s tourism economy. Realizing that time was short and seed money non-existent, Gene Mahon designed and proposed a zero cost fundraising plan when he heard from the Town Administrator that there was no money in the budget to fund the fireworks this year. Mahon is the Chairman of the Visitor Services Advisory Committee and serves on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce. He received approval for this proposal from the Nantucket Board of Selectman in November, 2010, after he announced that he had already secured an anonymous $10,000 donation.

The fundraising plan was a joint effort of Gene Mahon, Kate Hamilton Pardee, Director of Nantucket Visitor Services, and PJ Martin Smith, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. The campaign was an internet-based island-wide viral campaign integrating e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, combined with advertising and articles generously provided by the Inquirer and Mirror. The Chamber collected the donations, and will gift the proceeds to the Town.

Lawrel Strauch of the Chamber of Commerce sent out an appeal letter, written with the help of Bill Ferrall, to all Chamber members asking for their donations. The Chamber then sent out a second appeal a week later to the same businesses asking that they forward the letter to their customer and friend list. The Chamber also posted the appeal on Facebook and Twitter. The Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror sponsored several ads and wrote articles both reinforcing and supporting the appeal. In late January, the Mahon About Town Newsletter sent an appeal to its subscribers and to all island non-profits, again asking that the letter be forwarded by e-mail to their friends, clients, and customers.

The final result was that more than 50 people and businesses donated or gifted $79,000 to this Firework’s project. In combination with Visitor Services t-shirt sales, more than $86,000 has been raised – enough to fund this year’s fireworks and most of next year’s event.

Gene Mahon, Kate Hamilton Pardee and PJ Martin Smith thank all who donated to the fireworks fund. Contributors will be formally and publicly thanked at a later date through an ad in the Inquirer and Mirror after the 4th.

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