Volunteers raise $42,000 for Kailua fireworks show


POSTED: Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Kailua Fourth of July tradition since 1948 will not die this year thanks to the efforts of volunteers, residents and businesses.





        For more information on how to help with the Kailua Fourth of July fireworks show or to donate money, visit www.savekailuafireworks.com. or call Brook Gramann at 261-2300. The fireworks at Kailua Beach will be held at 8 p.m. July 4.

A grassroots group called Save Kailua Fireworks said yesterday it has raised $42,000 in just one week and is confident the rest of the money needed will come in.

“;We've had a phenomenal ground support,”; said Kailua resident David Gramann, one of the organizers of Save Kailua Fireworks. “;Everybody just opened their pocket books.”;

Gramann said donations have come in from as far away as Europe. The largest donation came from Kazuhiko Udagawa and Hideo Mita, of Long Stay Hawaii, who gave $15,000.

“;I think it's a way for people on the Windward side to come together to preserve a tradition,”; Dr. Robert Sussman, who donated $7,500.

Other residents and businesses, including the Castle Medical Center and Honolulu Star-Bulletin/Midweek, also contributed.

For as long as most can remember, there's been a fireworks show at Kailua Beach Park. The only year it didn't happen was in 2002 because of bad weather.

In 2003, the Kailua Chamber of Commerce decided to stop organizing the event. It was saved then by community support and this year, when the chamber again wasn't able to put it together, Gramann and other volunteers stepped in.

“;I think the community involvement and perseverance is what saved the fireworks,”; said Windward Oahu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson. “;It was the community's efforts that really paid off.”;

Save Kailua Fireworks still needs to raise about $10,000 more in the next two weeks. But they think they'll be able to get that amount and more.

“;Kailua is a really close-knit community, and the Windward side in general really takes these types of events to heart,”; said state Rep. Chris Lee.

If the volunteers raise more than the goal of $52,000, it will mean a more exciting show, Gramann said. If they raise lots more, then the money will go to next year's show, which Gramann said Save Kailua Fireworks will likely organize so that the tradition will continue.