Celebrate Independence Day next weekend

Fort Dodge is going to have a fantastic fireworks show and event this year thanks to a communitywide endeavor. Since the fireworks show almost didn’t take place last year, it was clear more planning and more effort was needed to make this event successful.

In 2013, the fireworks show did take place thanks to a last minute donation of $13,000 from C&S Products Co. Inc. And in early 2014, C&S Products Co. Inc. told the Growth Alliance that it would donate the same amount again this year if the fireworks show was larger and if effort was put in to make it sustainable yearly event.

With this request, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance reached out to the community. Fort Frenzy stepped up to the plate and offered its location for the event and several of its staff to help with coordination. The Fireworks Taskforce/Committee was created along with Fort Frenzy staff, Growth Alliance staff and area volunteers. The Fireworks Committee started meeting in March with the clear mission to seek involvement from within the community to make the event bigger. More players at the table means more ideas, more resources and more collaboration in making the fireworks in Fort Dodge a viable annual event.

One of the committee’s first tasks was to market the event. Since the event was going to take place on July 5, the name 5 F’s on the Fifth was created. This stands for Fort Dodge Family Fireworks Freedom Festival. A logo was created and has been used on all marketing materials including T-shirts, table tents for restaurants, posters, and even a Facebook page. With these, the committee could now approach the community promoting attendance, but also to find additional resources financially and via volunteers.

The Fireworks Taskforce offered local businesses the opportunity to donate via a Fireworks Fund at the Fort Dodge Community Foundation allowing all donations to be tax. With a minimum of a $100 sponsorship, a business could get the company name on the back of a T-shirt and on table tents that provide details of the event. The table tents have been distributed to local restaurants and businesses and the T-shirts will be sold before and during the event at Fort Frenzy and at the Growth Alliance for $15 each. The response from local business was amazing. Twenty-eight local businesses sponsored the event with a total of $3,300 and volunteers have been secured from Noon Sertoma, Rabiner Treatment Center, Fort Dodge Senior High Drill Team and other community members. The Iowa Air National Guard is even lending an air-conditioned recuperation tent for medical emergencies.

As funding was being secured and the information regarding the event was getting out there through mentions in The Messenger and on Three Eagles Communications radio stations, the Fireworks Taskforce continued to meet and plan the event. Kelm Brueschke of J&M Displays is providing the pyrotechnics for the Fireworks Show. The committee took advantage of several incentives offered that will with allow the display to be more than 40 percent bigger than last year’s fireworks show.

Thank you to the city of Fort Dodge for providing the free event permit and for providing police officers and firefighters for the event. Thank you to C&S Products Co. Inc. for its investment and belief that the Fort Dodge community can come together to make large events like this happen. Thank you to Fort Frenzy for the time its staff has taken to plan the logistics of this event, the use of your location, adding a new twist to the event by providing a concert that is free to the public and the numerous items it takes to pull off such a large event like portable toilets, professional insect abatement, preparing your facility and more.

The Fireworks Taskforce hopes not only will we have a large crowd at 5 F’s on the Fifth, but that we will encourage the coming together of our community now and in the future to continue this yearly event.

For more information you can contact Maria Kicklighter, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, 955-5500 or maria@greaterfortdodge.com or you can contact Effie Hill, manager of Fort Frenzy, at 576.2226 or effie@fortfrenzy.com.

Maria Kicklighter is a communications specialist with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.