The City is looking to raise between $12,000 (the amount the City is short in funds) and $100,000 for this year’s Great American Boom on July 4.
Alderman Brian Keith Albert came up with the idea of raising money through quarter donations for the event.
“Initially I was thinking we couldn’t afford the fireworks in the City. Most people were looking at it as a short term thing,” said Albert.
Besides a fireworks show, the Great American Boom has an entire fleet of attractions including giant trampolines, carnival games, a photo booth, interactive inflatables, video games, micro derby car races, caricature artist, face painters, pony rides, along with food trucks and many other attractions.
Former Mayor Tim Stewart had proposed not having the fireworks to save money during his term.
“Tim Stewart is no dummy. Why would he have proposed that if he didn’t know something? He knew businesses would donate,” Albert said. “Alderman (Don) Naples came up with the idea of calling the fundraiser ‘Quarters for Stanley Quarter.’ He jumped on it. He said he would tap his meager salary from this position donate 4,000 coins.”
On Wednesday, Naples had two 30lb boxes filled with 4,000. It comes to $1,000.
“It’s a bi-partisan way to get together for a good cause. We never have enough to pay for the fireworks,” said Alderman Don Naples. “In the old days on that night the firemen used to go around with a bucket and collect quarters. This is symbolic. We need more than just quarters.”
Albert said he plans to go to businesses asking them for donations.
“Everybody has jumped right on it. I want 400,000 quarters,” Albert said. “I’m hoping to also set up a website. Maybe, some businesses will put up a jar in their storefront.”
A jar will be at the New Britain Parks and Recreation Department and the New Britain Downtown District. Checks will be accepted as well.
“I’m really thankful for Ald. Albert’s creativity in putting his thought into helping the cause. It is a very good cause,” said Erik Barbieri, parks and recreation director. “All the residents love the fireworks. I also want to thank Ald. Naples for his generous contribution. Taking his check and doing this with it shows his commitment to the cause. Between the two of them I think it is a great start. I am encouraging anyone who wants to contribute to bring quarters to our department or send checks to the department. Just write ‘fireworks fund’ and we will make sure it goes into the appropriate account. Fundraising ideas like this help alleviate the taxpayer burden, but keep all the great activities parks recreation provides.”