Group seeks to boost Family Fourth sales
Published 12:00 am, Wednesday, June 24, 2015
After a shortfall last year, the volunteer committee that plans and executes the annual New Canaan Family Fourth Family celebration and fireworks show are hoping to boost sales to the fireworks show and party.
The 35th annual fireworks show and picnic is scheduled for the night of July 4 with the show beginning around 9 p.m. and the park opening at 5 p.m. at Waveny Park on South Avenue. Passes are $35 and can be bought at the Parks and Recreation Department at Waveny House and other businesses in town.
“It’s a wonderful town tradition that we want to keep going,” Town Administrative Officer Tom Stadler said. “I’m encouraging everybody to buy a ticket.”
Last year the group used $15,000 from its reserve fund after pass revenue declined by about $7,000 and police overtime increased from $10,000 to $18,000, according to Stadler.
Since beginning ticket sales this month, the town has sold about $22,000 in passes to the event, which typically sells about 1,300 passes, Stadler said. The cost of the show last summer was about $70,000, Stadler said, against ticket revenue of $54,000. About $25,000 of that was to pay International Fireworks Manufacturing Company for the display, Stadler said.
To help cover costs, the price of a family pass for residents was raised from $30 to $35.
“It’s important to know that if we can’t cover our costs we can’t put this on,” Stadler said. “We can’t get to the point where our funds are exhausted.”
In addition to fireworks, the afternoon-into-evening party includes food for sale provided by Garelick & Herbs, which will grill hot dogs, hamburgers, and sell wraps, salads and popcorn, and soft drinks, bottled water, along with ice cream sold by the Exchange Club.
Over and above the price of fireworks and police protection and traffic direction, Stadler said the organizing committee provides free entertainment such as a childrens’ inflatable bounce house, face painting, and the distribution of thousands of glow sticks.
The New Canaan Town Band also plays the event, and receives a donation from the committee, Stadler said.
To bolster sales, the committee has passes available at Walter Stewart’s Market at 229 Elm St. and the New Canaan Toy Store at 94 Park St., Stadler said. Both businesses will sell the passes up through Friday, July 3, Stadler said.
The passes can also be purchased at the Waveny Town Pool on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, but passes won’t be sold at the event.
In addition to selling fewer passes for last year’s show, the jump in police overtime was due to more officers choosing to be paid overtime instead of opting to bank the work hours for an extra day off.
“In addition to bringing in less, when the police sent their overtime in it was a bit of a surprise,” Stadler said. “They do a fantastic job and they are able to decide if they don’t want to bank the time as a holiday.”