ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — Professional fireworks are expensive and some communities have turned to private funding.
The mayor of Rochester has found that getting lots of businesses involved is the way to get more bucks for the city’s big bang.
Rochester is a city of about 100,000 people, and home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic. So city boosters want nothing less than a world-class fireworks display for the Fourth.
“Probably about 40 years, the the Rochester Post Bulletin, the newspaper in town, sponsored the fireworks and covered the whole thing,” said Mayor Ardell Brede.
But four years ago, the newspaper had to stop funding fireworks. The Mayor found another sponsor, but then recently had the idea of many sponsors: his red, white and blue plan.
“Red would be the $250 level, white was going to be $500 and blue would be $1,000,” Brede said.
Rochester businesses got on board in a hurry, and with much bigger donations. The newspaper published a full-page ad, free of charge, to spotlight the donors. The whole thing is working so well that this year’s show will be better than ever.
“The thought of not having fireworks here on the Fourth of July was basically unacceptable. We just wanted to make sure it was gonna fly. The mayor had a great idea and we just wanted to participate,” said Bob Nelson of Virgil’s Auto Clinic.
There was also a collection bucket at City Hall for fireworks, and that’s where the Mayor found the most meaningful donation of all — $6 from a family with four kids.
“They’ll be able, tomorrow night, they’ll be able to look up there and say we helped put that on,” Brede said.
Other communities that also do fundraising for fireworks include Albert Lea, Forest Lake and Mankato.