Sponsors needed for fireworks display

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

A celebration of this nation’s freedom is coming up soon, and one local agency that has helped Pearl River County celebrate the annual event is looking for help from the business community.
McNeill Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Donny Leonard said attendance at their number one fundraiser, the fireworks show on the Fourth of July, has dwindled in recent years.
Money raised from the boot shake held at the end of the show is used to not only reimburse the department for the cost of the fireworks, which can range from $1,500 to $2,000 for the 30-minute show, but also helps the department purchase materials used to respond to calls, Leonard said.
He said attendance at the last couple of shows only brought in $1,500 worth of donations each of those years, essentially leaving the department with enough money to break even.
In response, Leonard is looking for sponsorships from local businesses to help defray the cost of the event and help them purchase supplies and equipment.
In previous years, attendance at the event was so large that a day-long Fourth of July event was held in McNeill. However, Leonard said that as the crowds have declined, the department moved to just holding the fireworks show.
This year will be pretty much the same, but there will be an addition. Members of Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church #1 out of Millcreek will bring two gospel bands and a soundstage. Their performances begin at 4 p.m. that day. Fireworks will begin at dark.
The church will also fund the presence of two deputies from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department to help provide crowd control. Leonard said deputies were requested to control issues with some adults bringing alcoholic beverages to the event, creating a safety issue.
Other long-term goals of the department include purchasing a new fire truck, which can cost as much as $300,000, and adding another fire station on John Amacker Road to decrease response times.
Anyone interested in sponsoring this year’s event can contact Leonard at the department at 601-798-7065 or by cellphone at 601-590-4632.
If funding for the event is not found, Leonard said the department may not be able to hold it in the future.

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