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Fallbrook's July 4th fireworks show in limbo

The skies of Fallbrook may be dark this Fourth of July if enough money isn’t raised to pay for the annual fireworks event that attracts thousands to the grounds of the Grand Tradition.

For the past five years, the Fallbrook Beautification Alliance (FBA) has hosted an Independence Day event filled with food, entertainment and family activities that end with a fireworks show over the lake.

The July 4th event has been Fallbrook’s only fireworks show, but this year’s lack of sponsorship for the costly pyrotechnics may mean that the show won’t go on.

“We need $25,000 by March 15,” said Jerri Patchett, president of FBA, a non-profit organization that raises money to support beautification efforts in the community.

Patchett said the organization has had generous sponsors who covered the fireworks for the past five years, but that recently that funding has been lost.

The money is needed to pay for the fireworks and for a professional to operate the sound system, Patchett said. A deposit is required by mid-March to reserve both of these, and if donations aren’t secured by that time, the event may not take place. And the beautification effort, overall, may be in peril.

“If we don’t move forward with it then there’s a potential our organization may cease to exist,” Patchett said.

Mary Jo Bacik, a member of the FBA Advisory Committee, said that the July 4th celebration is the FBA’s primary fundraiser.

But hosting the event is costly.

“The biggest cost is the fireworks,” Bacik said. “I believe they cost about $1,000 per minute.”

The outcome of the event has been profitable, though, in more ways than just raising money.

Patchett said the fireworks show raises between $30,000 and $35,000 each year for the beautification effort, but it means a lot more than that to the community.

Lori Kanewischer, who has attended the event each year, said three generations of her family volunteer together to help serve food at the celebration.

“The whole family does it. We all love it and appreciate its here,” she said.

Kanewischer said that when her children were younger they used to drive to Oceanside for a fireworks show on Independence Day, but it eventually became too crowded.

As for the possibility of Fallbrook no longer hosting a show, Kanewischer said, “I’d hate to see it not be here. We’d really be losing out on a great community event.”

The Save Our 4th Campaign has been created to accept donations for this year’s event, and contributions are tax deductible.

Contributors of $500 or more will be recognized on a banner that will be displayed at the event, as well as on the FBA’s Web site and a thank you ad in the newspaper, Patchett said.

The FBA, she said, makes an effort to work with local businesses and help make the area look clean.

For nearly six years the FBA has been making improvements to the town including placing flower pots downtown, maintaining the Mission Road medians, Beech Street Park, and Pico Promenade, as well as cleaning graffiti and trash from the streets.

To donate to the campaign, visit

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