**This story contains commentary and opinion from the author
The 2014 Sturtevant fireworks, by most accounts, was a rousing success; fantastic weather, a great crowd, an amazing show, and a positive balance moving into the 2015 event.
But, this fun-filled day doesn’t just happen. There is a small, dedicated group of volunteers that drives not just the festival on July 3 but also the special fundraising events like the dinner with Santa and the pancake breakfast and the myriad planning steps that go on throughout the year leading up to and after the big day.
Sturtevant Trustee Daryl Lynaugh, chair of the festival, told the rest of the board Tuesday that 42 volunteers signed in July 3, which is great, of course, but those same people are needed throughout the year.
“We’re burned out,” Lynaugh said. “This is a lot of work, and it’s been the same group of people since this started.”
Village President Steve Jansen said he understood Lynaugh’s position and that he would like see more volunteers in general as well as from the surrounding communities.
“We would love more volunteers from anywhere,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent out there that could really benefit the fireworks. Otherwise, if we can’t get more people to step up and help, I don’t see how we can keep this going.”
One thing Jansen would like to explore is adding a referendum question to the ballot in August on whether or not residents would support the fireworks through tax dollars. The question would be phrased so that the amount funded through the tax levy wouldn’t exceed $15,000, for example, which is roughly half the total cost of the 2014 festival. The balance of the bill would be paid for through fundraising.
Trustee John Johnson thought the idea had merit because it provides a guarantee going forward, helps avoid burn out by the committee, and gets residents invested in this wonderful community event.
“I would like to see us do the referendum but only up to a certain amount and still rely on donations for the majority of the funding,” he said.
The Sturtevant fireworks are enjoyed not just by village residents but also by neighbors from around the region, including from the surrounding villages of Mount Pleasant and Caledonia and the City of Racine so the list of volunteers who work throughout the year should also come from outside Sturtevant.
Only one current, regular committee member is from outside Sturtevant, and I help out when I can though I could also do a better job because the fireworks festival is really too much fun and serves a larger purpose. Village Administrator/Clerk Mary Cole summed it up nicely during the meeting.
“These events are important because they bring the community together, and to not have them would not be good for any of us,” she said.
Sturtevant trustees will decide in the next few weeks whether or not to keep the fireworks going. Their decision in large part will hinge on how residents and neighbors answer the call for support. Sure, the money is important, but time and talent matter just as much.
To volunteer for the Sturtevant fireworks committee, call Village Hall at 886-7200 and leave your information with Mary Cole or one of the deputy clerks. They will pass along your name and phone number to the committee.
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