Bad economy snuffs Bay Area fireworks shows


The skies are a little quieter as deep budget cuts forced some cities to eliminate funding for their firework displays. That means some Bay Area families had to change their holiday plans.

Foster City is one of the few places that planned to put on a legal fireworks show Sunday night. Larger than expected crowds were anticipated as the show was the only legal one scheduled between San Francisco and Mountain View after bad economies created a dud for a number of nearby fireworks shows.

The crowds enjoying the July 4th festival in Redwood City had just about all they could ask for, everything except a fireworks show. It was the city's first cancellation in about 10 years.

Denny Rivera, his daughter and the rest of his family have enjoyed the festival in years past.

"She's still young, but she knows. She knows," he said. "She remembers quite well, setting up our camping chairs and everything, setting up shop and waiting for the fireworks. We've taken her since she was born.

There were no bright colors high above Redwood City because there was not enough green. It costs $50,000 to put on a fireworks show, an amount the non-profit Peninsula Celebration Association could not raise for this year's pyrotechnics event.

"Primarily the economy... In 2008, we saw a downturn in our ability to generate funds," said festival organizer Robert Slusser. "So, we knew it was not going to be able to sustain fireworks in the current economy and that's what actually caused the problem."

Redwood City's loss could be Fostery City's gain when it comes to the number of spectators. People in Foster City got to see the only legal fireworks show in San Mateo County, after Half Moon Bay also dropped its July 4th event.

"On a normal year, we would have 25,000 to 30,000 people show up for the fireworks show at about 5:30 in the evening," said Foster City police Capt. Matt Martell. "This year, we could see 30,000 to 40,000 and that will really put a pretty significant group of people in a pretty small area."

"We might try to go to Foster City, but we'll still try to figure that out because you know, living here in Redwood City, that would be a part of our evening, coming out here and enjoying that part of Redwood City," Rivera told ABC7. "That was part of the attraction, for us to enjoy it. Now, they've taken that away and we've got to look elsewhere."

The Peninsula Celebration Association is going to try to raise enough money to bring the fireworks show back next year, but there are no guarantees.

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