Fewer activities at Chandler’s July 4th celebration, but double the fireworks - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Fewer activities at Chandler’s July 4th celebration, but double the fireworks

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:55 am

For the City of Chandler’s annual Independence Day gathering at Tumbleweed Park, games, live music and other activities that have been a staple of similar city events past might be scaled back this year.

On the other hand, the city is increasing the scope of its July 4 fireworks show – spending nearly $25,000 to put together a display almost double the size of its prior celebrations.

Fireworks will begin July 4 at 9 p.m. in the sky above Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road.

Hermelinda Llamas, special events coordinator for the City of Chandler, said this is the first time in a long time Chandler will produce the event on its own, but she says it will be a situation unique to this year.

The Chandler Lions Club previously partnered with the City of Chandler for the event, but, due to financial reasons, the group was unable to produce this year’s event.

“To put it on, the whole thing, it became quite a chore to try to get enough people to put in the finances and things,” said Ruth Wick, president of the Chandler Lions Club. She said the club had issues fielding enough funding in time from community businesses and other supporters.

Wick referenced the efforts of Chandler Lions Club member John Stewart to pound the pavement for sponsors.

But Steward has dealt with health issues recently, making it difficult for him to meet with all the sponsors and companies needed to successfully fund the event.

“He didn’t want to put our Chandler Lions at risk to putting up that much money and the chances of not getting it back,” Wick said.

As a result, the City of Chandler had limited time to pull together resources to create entertainment, games, bands.

These were activities that the previous events held for at least the last seven years, when the Chandler Lions Club was in charge of the celebration.

Because of the time constraints, fireworks will be the main feature of the event; and, in the end, that means they can have more of them.

The park opens at 7 p.m. and parking is $5 per vehicle on site, the southwest corner of McQueen and Germann roads. The fireworks celebration lasts 20-25 minutes.

Llamas also said the event “will not be the same event that it was before,” but she is still expecting a turnout of about 40,000-60,000 people, numbers consistent with previous years.

Llamas said that at the end of this year, the City of Chandler will coordinate to look for more sponsors, and another partner to work with for the 4th of July event.

The Chandler Lions Club still helps the City of Chandler with a couple of events in the fall, said Llamas, and it shouldn’t be counted out of the 4th of July celebration just yet.

The club will sell food and beverages for the event, with profits going back in to the Chandler Lions Club budget to fund the club’s main focus of purchasing eyeglasses and eye exams for children attending school in Chandler.

Wick, who has been involved as a member of the Chandler Lions Club for 16 years, said without enough sponsors for the event, the rest of the funding would have to come out of the club budget.

Members were uncomfortable with this and felt the money was better spent on adding to their total of 114 eyeglasses this year for kids and funding Camp Tatiyee, a camp in the Arizona White Mountains for special needs individuals.

If You Go

What: Chandler July 4 Fireworks show

Where: Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road

When: July 4, 9 p.m.

Cost: Free; parking on-site $5 per vehicle

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