Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, April 18, 2024

On Saturday it is time again to celebrate all that is the great U.S. But America's birthday party is bound to be smaller this year as small city budgets and low monetary contributions have led many cities to dwarf or even altogether cancel Independence Day celebrations.

It's not surprising when fireworks displays themselves can cost upward of tens of thousands of dollars, an expense that penny pinchers describe as literally burning money.

But while some cities tame their celebrations, others emphasize the importance of the day beyond just being an excuse to eat hot dogs and shamelessly wear head-to-toe red, white and blue.

"The city of Alachua really focuses on supporting those that have fought for our freedom and celebrate those still fighting," said Adam Boukari, an assistant at Alachua's City Manager's office.

The annual Fourth of July Celebration is a 9-year-old tradition that the city was not ready to let go, despite potential monetary hardships.

"We have been really fortunate. We have had the most cash and in-kind contributions that we've had any other years." Boukari said. "This has been our most succesful year by far."

For the 10th annual Fourth of July celebration, the 16-member committee that puts together the event is being more cautious with how money is spent, but the event will still be as big as ever.

Attendees can still expect a 30-minute, $ 30,000 fireworks display, live music, contests and a free Kidz Corner, complete with a skatepark, a bounce house and a splash park.

The entire event is free and there is a 100-acre area for parking.

The committee has been meeting weekly since February to ensure the event runs smoothly.

It takes a lot of work and planning, but the city is committed to continue the tradition and is proud to celebrate America's freedom, Boukari said.

The city will spend approximately $ 69,000 on the event, with $ 40,000 of the amount budgeted by the city, $18,000 contributed through cash donations and $ 11, 000 coming from in-kind donations, in which businesses donate goods instead of cash.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"In tough times some cities cut back and I can understand that, but in our country there are still people overseas fighting and this is a way to remember them." Boukari said.

The celebration is also a good opportunity for local businesses and not-for-profit organizations to increase awareness and make money.

"For some not-for-profits, this event is the biggest fundraiser of the year," Boukari said.

The event is expected to draw out a bigger crowd this year than it has in previous years because it is one of the only cities nearby hosting a full day of activities and large fireworks display.

Boukari said he expects between 15 to 20,000 people to attend.

Highlights of the festival include a fashion show, a rib-eating contest, and live music performances with Bryce Carlisle headlining, he said.

To beat the midsummer heat, the city set up an air-conditioned gymnasium filled with arts and crafts stations, vendors, live music and food.

"We call the event 'The Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America' because we really have a great show," Boukari said.

"For 30 minutes there is a constant flow of fireworks, with no break, with music playing in the background and a field full of thousands of people watching."

The celebration will be held Saturday from 12 to 10 p.m., at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex, 14300 N.W. 146th Terrace, Alachua, Fla.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.