Kailua Fireworks Fizzle Out

A bridge too far, a job too costly. That’s why there will be no fireworks over Kailua Bay this Fourth of July.

“It was just too much for a small group of citizens to do,” Brook Gramann admitted last week. The Kailua businesswoman has helped spearhead the grass-roots fundraising effort, but recently called it off for 2012. “We’d done it for three years, and I’m sure the companies who gave consistently – Castle Medical Center and Foodland – would have participated again in return for radio trade. But it has been more and more difficult to collect money from other businesses.”

Additional factors are the lack of a major corporate sponsor, the dwindling amount of donations that have come in, and the absence of Kailua Chamber of Commerce support, which may reflect tough times in general.

“We tried to give it back to the Kailua Chamber early in the year,” Gramann said, “and we offered to handle logistics. But their focus is the parade, and they declined.”

Until 2008, the chamber had coordinated the fireworks (a 60-year tradition) as well as the parade. “Donations have been steady over the years,” Gramann noted, “but amounts donated have continued to decrease overall.

“It’s a significant job coordinating, fundraising, promoting and running the event over a three- to four-month period.”

For Kailua pyrotechnic fans, meanwhile, the closest Independence Day fireworks show will be at 8 p.m. July 4 at Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai, although the Maunalua Communities Foundation also is mounting a last-ditch effort to raise about $50,000 for its five annual festival. (Bobby Moderow Jr. will perform from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Cha Cha Cha Salsaria in Hawaii Kai to benefit the fund.)

Other announced shows for July 4 will be at Ala Moana Beach, Turtle Bay Resort, Schofield Barracks and Hickam Harbor.