By Sarah Mansheim
The town of Alderson needs your help. For years, its Fourth of July Celebration and fireworks show has been both the largest and the best in the state, but over the last couple of years, attendance has dwindled, and now, the committee in charge of the fireworks display cannot pay its bill.
Fireworks show organizer Detra McVey, whose husband’s father first began the fireworks display in 1964, has set up a GoFundMe account online to help raise money to pay the $7,500 owed to the festival’s fireworks distributor.
McVey says that bad weather has profoundly impacted the attendance to the Fourth of July celebration since 2012. That year, the massive derecho that left much of Greenbrier without electricity forced organizers to cancel the event all together. Rainy weather has plagued the holiday for the last two years, decreasing attendance, and, in turn, generating less money to pay for the fireworks.
She explained that she and her husband, former Alderson Fire Chief H.R. McVey, have an account with a fireworks distributor, and they purchase fireworks for Alderson’s Fourth of July Celebration, the Ronceverte River Festival, the Hinton Water Festival and the John Henry Days festival all at once. Then, after each festival, where Mr. McVey and other certified pyrotechnicians volunteer to set off the fireworks, they pay for each portion of the total fireworks purchase. This year, after the Alderson show, she says they simply came up short.
The online fundraiser is now live and will continue until the fireworks committee raises enough money to pay for this year’s debt. The Alderson Fireworks Committee also has an account with City National Bank in Alderson where citizens can donate to the fund under the account name “Fireworks Fund.”
Even as McVey is trying to raise money to pay for last July’s fireworks show, she is also figuring out how the committee can pay for them in the future. She says that beginning in 2016, they may need to seek out corporate sponsorships in order to help cover the $20,000 fireworks budget. She says the committee may also have to scale back on the size of the show, but, of course, she hopes it will not come to that.
To contribute to the Alderson Fireworks crowd-funding campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/g85gzx97.