Chamber cancels 2020 fireworks, could resume show in 2021

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By Correne Martin

 

The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce has canceled its contract for its July 2020 fireworks celebration on St. Feriole Island. Chamber administration cites increased cost of fireworks and a budget cut for its decision to forego hosting the annual event this year, though collaborations may occur to bring the display back in 2021.

Since 1985, the local chamber has organized the fireworks, with donations from its members, funds given by viewers entering the island for the show, and fluctuating funds from the city, according to Chamber CEO Bob Moses. Most recently, the chamber has worked with Krueger Pyrotechnics to shoot the $10,000-$12,000 display over the Mississippi River.

“We’ve literally seen thousands of people who come to sit on the riverbanks with their kids, families, coolers and snacks,” he said. 

With the cost of fireworks shooting up because of the trade war, Moses said the chamber was looking at spending several thousand dollars more for the same style of show as last year. Then, he said, the city reduced the chamber’s usual $15,000 yearly allocation to $10,000. He noted that the chamber always earmarked that $5,000 as a separate line item within its annual budget.

City Administrator Chad Abram said the reduction in the allocation was a decision made by the finance committee and ultimately the common council. The vote was to split allocated funds evenly among the chamber of commerce, Driftless Development and PdC Main Street. 

“The city distributes funds to certain organizations and they are allowed to use those funds in any way they see fit for their organization,” Abram pointed out. “The decrease in the annual distribution to the chamber was made in hopes of a collaboration of efforts between all three organizations and local sponsors, not to cancel the fireworks celebration. To cancel it would be a choice of use of funds by the chamber.”

Moses said the chamber board would collaborate with Driftless Development and PdC Main Street, as it has for other events, to hopefully share costs to continue the annual fireworks. 

“The chamber will match the dollars and volunteers each organization can contribute in hopes of raising the $10,000 to $12,000 needed to host a quality event,” Moses stated. 

Abram added that the city has provided police and fire protection each year for the event at no cost to the chamber, and the city would do so in the future if the celebration resumes. He commented that chamber has done a “wonderful job organizing previous fireworks displays, with various support.”

“We look forward to meeting as a team in an effort to support the 2021 fireworks show,” Moses said.

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