Fizzle to boom?
The Vietnam Veterans of America coordinated the event for 14 years before handing it over to the Veterans of Foreign Wars four years ago.
This year, however, they were unable to round up enough volunteers, said Post Commander Rick Bremer, and couldn’t get sponsor participation. That’s where Ciramella jumped in.
Starting May 11, her group plans to hold eight weeks of “history pubs” at the Chetco Activity Center where folks representing various aspects of life here — fishermen, loggers, pioneers, mill workers and Indian tribe representatives among them — will discuss their roots to the community. Chetco Brewing Co. will pour brews; the cost to attend is $5, all of which will go toward the fireworks.
A second fundraiser will be the sale of 1,000 numbered Brookings Harbor Fireworks lapel buttons, for $25 apiece.
“So many businesses and people get hit up so much and are asked to give so much,” Ciramella said of solicitations from the numerous events throughout the year. “But $25 from everyone — we have almost 15,000 people in this area. If we could sell 1,000 buttons, there’s our $25,000 right there.”
Additionally, all those who buy a pin will be entered into a raffle for a weekend trip somewhere on the Oregon Coast, Ciramella said.
The effort last week received the blessing from the Port of Brookings Harbor board, on whose property many viewers will be parking and strolling, and the fire chief of the Harbor Fire Department. Ciramella plans to get a Cal-Ore ambulance on site, and have the county sheriff’s reserve officers and Knight Security conduct traffic control and security.
Ciramella plans to start next year’s work that same night, selling lapel pins on the beach as the fireworks burst in the sky. And she plans to attend every event between now and next Fourth selling pins and drumming up excitement.
“We’re going to do it a little differently this year,” she said. “We’re going to start fundraising in July (for 2018) so we don’t have to come to this crunch next year. But this year, all we’re doing is saving the fireworks. I’m going to give it my best.”
Groups or individuals who want to participate in fundraising — car washes, bake sales or barbecues, to name a few ideas — will receive recognition and donations to their group for their efforts, she said.
“I’ve had people come out of the woodwork to support us,” she said. “We’re hitting the ground running.”
Those interested in buying a pin can obtain them after May 11 at the Chetco Activity Center and at Rogue Credit Union, where an account is pending for those wishing to donate. To hold a fundraising event, contact Ciramella at 541-661-2117.