The 4th of July: To Have or Have Not
By David Painter
Every year on the 4th of July, our community gathers to celebrate our nation’s founding. Many of the organizations that add to the quality of life in our foothill communities parade down Broad Street in Nevada City or Mill Street in Grass Valley, two of the finest “main streets” you’ll find anywhere. Our citizens and their visitors stand on the sidewalks, waving flags, and cheering as their family, friends, acquaintances, and total strangers march in that great American institution, the 4th of July parade.
The parade is only the beginning of the celebrations held throughout the day and into the night. While many people may gather for backyard or lakeside picnics and barbeques, many more head for what is, arguably, one of the most beautiful fair grounds in the nation. Here our 4th of July party continues with food and entertainment until it culminates in those explosions of light and color that has come to symbolize our country’s birthday: spectacular fireworks.
After the night sky grows dark again and the final explosion echoes through the tall pines, the celebration ends, and the participants make their way home through the warm summer evening. The 4th of July has come and gone, and it’s been another great party.
Yes, it’s been a great party, but here’s the deal with great parties: someone has to pay for them. And great parties, especially if thousands of people are invited, don’t come cheap. This year’s celebration will cost beyond $60,000. Fireworks alone cost $540 a minute. Then, there is the fairgrounds’ rental fee, approximately $6,000 a day. That’s a sizeable number; one that will undoubtedly increase as the Fairgrounds management struggles with state budget cuts. Add in the cost of hiring sheriffs, and security patrols, paying for state fire marshal, insurance and trash removal, and you’re talking serious money.
Currently, the Grass Valley/Nevada County and Nevada City Chambers of Commerce, and the Grass Valley Downtown Association sponsor the 4th of July celebrations. There are some businesses and individuals who are generous donors, but we need more financial assistance in order to maintain low-cost gate fees at the Fairgrounds. This is a party that everybody should be allowed to attend. Unfortunately, the Chambers and the GVDA can ill afford to lose money on this very important and special event, especially with their own budgets being cut.
We have an amazing community. Many people want to live here, but few are lucky enough to do so. The 4th of July celebration is just one of the many events the Chambers and GVDA sponsor that make this place special. However, the current economy threatens the very existence of the July 4th festivities. If you want to maintain the July 4th parade and Fairgrounds celebration, there are several ways to help. The Chambers and GVDA offer many different levels of sponsorship for this popular and traditional event. If you would like to be an individual or a business sponsor, please contact the Chambers or Downtown Association at the numbers listed below. We need your help to keep the party going.
Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber 273-4667
Nevada City Chamber 265-2692
Grass Valley Downtown Association 273-8315
David Painter is co-owner of SPD Markets, on the Board of Directors of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and a great community partner to many local organizations.
We are also accepting Donations for the 4th of July community celebration. No donation is too small – please contact the N.C. Chamber of Commerce – 265-2692.