Fireman’s Association ends sponsorship of Oak Bluffs Fireworks

— File photo by Susan Safford

Oak Bluffs town officials and business owners scrambled this week to ensure that the annual summer fireworks show explodes over Ocean Park again next summer, following a decision by the Oak Bluffs Fireman’s Civic Association to end its long sponsorship of the event.

At its monthly meeting last Sunday, the association voted not to continue its sponsorship.

“It is a decision that the association has struggled with making for many years, but agreed was a necessary one,” the association’s officers wrote in a statement released Tuesday night. “Over the years we have seen the fireworks budget expenses rise, while the receivable donations have fallen. The burden of providing for our families in these tough financial times has left our members with less and less time to volunteer.”

The statement did not say how much the fireworks show costs to produce. The association said the event serves as its main fund raiser to support charitable contributions for Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops, student scholarships, holiday food certificates, and financial support to sick or injured fire and emergency medical service personnel.

Selectman Michael Santoro, who helped organize a smaller fireworks show as part of the Oak Bluffs Business Association summer solstice celebration in recent years, said he is already talking to businesses and corporations about sponsoring fireworks next summer.

Mr. Santoro said it cost $15,000 for the summer solstice show, and estimates it would cost about $30,000 to stage the fireworks show, based on preliminary inquiries from fireworks producers.

“We’re going to approach the town to privatize it,” Mr. Santoro said in a phone conversation Wednesday. He said he has asked radio station WMVY about the possibility of sponsorship and coordinating music with the show.

“I think it’s a time to take it a step up,” Mr. Santoro said. “There’s so much more you could do now. There are big costs, but now’s the time. We’ve already started talking to corporations about being involved.”