When word spread that Kingsland’s AquaBoom might not be able to put on its annual Fourth of July fireworks show in 2020, businesses and residents rallied.
On May 5, AquaBoom chairwoman Wendy Taylor announced “it looks like the fireworks show is a go,” though, she added, the committee is still working on the rest of the festival schedule.
Fireworks will be launched near the RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland at “dark-thirty” on Saturday, July 4.
“We will have a fireworks show,” Taylor said. “As far as the rest of the schedule, we’re still trying to flesh out what that looks like. We are doing the very best we can.”
The AquaBoom committee was able to give the go-ahead for the fireworks because of financial support.
“We have new businesses we’re partnering with for the first time,” Taylor said. “With the outpouring from the community and their willingness to help, it looks like we have reached commitments to the fireworks show.”
People can donate through the AquaBoom website beginning the week of May 11. The committee also will sell tickets for a chance to win a personal watercraft at several Kingsland businesses as soon as those places are allowed to open. Tickets are $5 each or $20 for five.
“That’s a great way people can step up and help,” Taylor said. “AquaBoom has been a long-standing tradition for families for generations. This is part of the heart of our community.”
The annual Fourth of July celebration usually spans several days and includes live music, parades, games, and other activities.
Unfortunately, Taylor said, the reason the organization can’t currently commit to activities beyond the fireworks show is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She noted that March is when committee members are finalizing contracts for AquaBoom activities, equipment, and supplies, but the pandemic and the state’s stay-at-home order forced many businesses to close for several weeks. That executive order didn’t expire until April 30, and non-essential businesses are slowly reopening.
The AquaBoom committee, in good conscience, couldn’t hold businesses that have been closed for weeks to their financial commitment to the festival.
“It is very difficult to go to them because everyone is hurting,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to help each other out, and you don’t treat family like that.”
Taylor explained the committee’s position on a social media post earlier this week.
She made clear how the committee was critically thinking through its options. She noted members were considering moving the event to Labor Day weekend, emphasizing they were simply conversing and had not made a final decision. She also wrote that while two months seems like enough time to plan a festival, the truth is it’s challenging to commit to an event of AquaBoom’s size without funding in place.
That online post, she said, is what prompted people to step up to become sponsors and why the fireworks display is happening.
“There was an outpouring of support from this community after I got the statement issued,” she said. “We had several step up asking, ‘What can I do to help?’”
Taylor sent each one a sponsorship packet and talked to them about what was needed for the fireworks show to happen.
“I’m overwhelmingly grateful,” she said. “This community never ceases to amaze me time and time again. I can’t say I’m ecstatic or happy or relieved yet. We’re not there yet, but we have enough community sponsors to put us close enough to the goal line to commit to the fireworks show.”