BY TIM HINKLEY
---- — As a kid growing up downstate in little Clarkston, Mich., I recall sitting in the family backyard watching the volunteer fire department throw off a few minutes of fireworks at the high school football field every Independence Day. It was a ritual that brought our family and neighborhood together every year and planted seeds of pride and patriotism that are instilled within me today.
Fast forward to 2011. For years, Traverse City enjoyed a fireworks display over West Grand Traverse Bay funded by various civic groups, organizations and municipalities banding together to make sure the region had something to celebrate the occasion with.
But 2011 was a tough year economically and it didn’t appear there was going to be a centrally focused effort to raise the monies necessary to pull off a fireworks event on the Fourth.
As Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival, I was in a position to gather a few local volunteers together and drum up 11th-hour assistance from various public and private entities, enough to cobble together a respectable 2011 Independence Day fireworks program.
Afterwards, we went to work to create a non-profit organization with a simple mission ... to provide a solution to satisfy the funding and production for the annual Fourth of July Independence Day fireworks display over West Grand Traverse Bay.
We called our creation the “Traverse City Boom Boom Club.” In 2012, we were lucky enough to garner the support of 56 individuals, seven municipalities and 10 civic organizations that allowed us to produce a 30-minute show featuring 1,100 shells varying in size from three to 10 inches in diameter, and live simulcasting from WTCM. It was quite a sight.
This year, the Traverse City Boom Boom Club is excited to say we’re going to produce another great fireworks event over the bay. We are approaching last year’s fund-raising total, but we have some more work to do. You can help. Our ultimate goal is to have the annual fireworks display funded through the grass roots of our region. These fireworks are our fireworks, July 4th is our Independence Day and this is our opportunity to celebrate together for a common cause.
You can contribute anytime on line at www.tcboomboom.org, or come down to the Open Space July 4. The Grand Traverse Veterans Coalition will collect contributions at the Cherry Festival front entrance, the Cherry Festival is contributing proceeds from that night’s concert. and the TC Boom Boom Club VIP party has seats available starting at $25.
I’ve come a long way from the backyard of my youth, but the devotion to our Independence and freedom still burns within me. I know I’m not alone. See you Thursday.
About the author: Tim Hinkley is a former Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival and is president of the Traverse City Boom Boom Club.
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