Lions cancels fireworks show, plans for next year

Lions cancels fireworks show, plans for next yearTo the Editor:

Fellow community members and members of the surrounding communities of Ridgecrest, the Ridgecrest Lions, Ridgecrest Shoutouts, and the Desert Empire Fairgrounds regretfully and with heavy hearts must announce that due to the county and state regulations of social distancing guidelines, we must cancel the 4th of July Fireworks Celebration.

This decision comes at the very last possible moment, as we held out hope that we would be open, and guidelines would be lessened by the time the fireworks display was scheduled to happen this year. Unfortunately, the guidelines are still that no large gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed. This posed a very difficult dilemma in the case of the fireworks as we cannot honestly and in good conscience hold the county’s only fireworks show, as we believe all other Kern County Shows have cancelled, and possibly draw in out of town people and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

We as a community have been very fortunate to retain our miraculously low numbers with the virus, and the Lions and Shoutouts as community-oriented clubs must hold true to our main mission — doing what is in the best interest of the community. We know times are hard for all businesses and clubs all around the world due to this pandemic. A majority of funding for the Fireworks comes from our annual donation letters to businesses within our community. We understand that each and every business is pushing just to make ends meet and we would ask that the community pull behind these businesses, as they are the ones who assist year after year with a large portion of the donations in helping us to provide the community with a great fireworks show and event. We also could not succeed without the private citizen individual donations as well, but again, in good conscience we cannot ask for those donations at this time as well.

To show our support to our local community, we have refrained from seeking donations for the Fireworks until we had a final guarantee that we would be able to hold them. We do not wish to see any local businesses shut down due to hardships that could have been avoided on our part. We wish to thank all the businesses that have supported our local Fireworks event over the past several years, and now, we show our support to you in this difficult time.

We will gladly answer any and all questions pertaining to the fireworks display. However, we must ask that everyone understand that this decision to cancel them this year, came at the very last second possible.

In saying this, we have opted into doing Ridgecrest’s largest ever fireworks show in 2021. This will require a substantial amount of funds being raised between now and July 2021. We have begun working with local restaurants and businesses to help supplement the donations. This action allowed us to save our 2020 fireworks deposit, which has been transferred toward the 2021 display.

For this Fourth of July, Ridgecrest Shoutouts and the Ridgecrest Lions Club hope that the community will purchase from the nonprofit firework booths, and share those fireworks with their families, friends and neighbors. Have a happy and safe July 4th!

Stephen Birdwell and Steven Morgan

Pictured: News Review file photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2020-06-12