In 2015, we celebrated the 25th year of having fireworks on Siesta Key for the 4th of July. According to Mike Simmons, Project Manager at Zambelli Fireworks, this display was the largest private show in Sarasota County and one of the largest in the state of Florida.
Because all funding for the annual fireworks comes completely from sponsorships/donations, the group of volunteers that serve on the fireworks committee took on a challenge when we agreed to raise extra funds to beef-up the show from prior years. We saw the value in working a bit harder because 25 years of fireworks made possible solely by the generosity of local businesses and residents is truly something to be proud of and to celebrate. We were also starting to see a change in the atmosphere at the public beach and with the additional challenges that were put in the path of producing the VIP party, we knew that the model we had used for so many years would have to change moving forward.
For those who do not know, we’ve always held a VIP party on the 4th of July and the donations and ticket sales for that party directly funded the fireworks and costs associated with putting on the community event. When we first started using this model, there was an old ball field that we used for parking for those who purchased tickets for the party. Fast forward to 2016, the ball field is no longer there and the beach renovation project has been completed. What does this mean to the fireworks committee? Well, we no longer have 250 parking spots to offer the VIP party ticket holders and we would have to raise an additional $8,000 just to have the party. We realized it just didn’t make financial sense anymore so we made the decision to eliminate the party.
Aside from the convenience of having the fireworks on the island for the residents, why is it important to donate to keep them here? In one word: Tourism. Being in the accommodations business, I can tell you if the fireworks did not happen on Siesta, there would be a lot of upset and disappointed guests which would be devastating to the area. The fireworks are extremely important to the people staying in our resorts – they shop, eat out, rent boats, etc. We need the people, we need the fireworks. You can help. We are counting on community groups, local businesses and residents to keep our fireworks show the best in the county! Let’s show off our newly renovated #1 beach!!!
Partnerships and sponsorships are available. Please contact the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce for more information (941) 349.3800.
Fireworks Committee Chair
General Manager, Midnight Cove Association