Desert Valleys gives 2021 fireworks campaign a boost

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Desert Valleys gives 2021 fireworks campaign a boostWith the confluence of challenges presented by earthquakes and COVID-19, the Ridgecrest Lions Club announced that this year’s fireworks celebration would be deferred to next year.

However, longtime champion of the event Steven Morgan noted that the organization and its supporters are channeling their efforts on an unprecedented show next year.

“It was too much to ask of the businesses and community to donate to the community show this year,” said Morgan. “Everyone needed to take care of themselves.”

For the last several years, rising costs of the show itself has already threatened the club’s ability to keep it running. Ongoing revisions to the mandates governing crowd control and operations of Desert Empire Fairgrounds, which historically draws thousands of spectators, were also taken into account in the decision to cancel this year’s show.

“So we are coming back next year with the largest fireworks display ever,” said Morgan. “This would be the show not to miss!”

The cost of fireworks alone is $30,000. The cost to cover fire marshal services, advertising and other production expenses put the financing for the show around $37,000.

“It would only take $1 per person in the IWV to not only pay for the 2021 show, but put a deposit reserve for the 2022 show,” said Morgan.

That account got a significant boost last week with a $3,000 donation from Desert Valleys Credit Union.

Desert Valleys CEO Eric Bruen said that the donation was prompted in part by the lending institution’s role in providing $4.5 million in PPP loans to the community during the COVID-19 crisis.

“For servicing these loans, the credit union received an origination fee from the SBA for assisting in the process. Since these are taxpayer funds, Desert Valleys feels an ethical obligation to return a substantial portion of these funds back to our community,” said Bruen.

“Desert Valleys is proud to support the fireworks fund and the nearly 30 years of service which the Lions Club has given to this community event.

“Although the crisis may prevent us from being together this year, we wanted to signify our commitment to this event and to the community.”

Anyone wishing to make donations may send them to the Ridgecrest Lions Fireworks Fund, P.O. Box 2301, Ridgecrest, Calif. 93556. Morgan said that the Lions are a 501c3 organization, so donations are tax-deductible. For information call 760-977-2600.

Pictured: Lions Ken Echeberry, Steven Morgan and Karen Larson (from left) receive a donation from Desert Valleys CEO Eric Bruen. — Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2020-07-03