Investors will keep
fireworks show lit

The Kailua aerial fireworks show will go on, thanks to the investment by seven businesses and an organizer with control of the airwaves.

The Independence Day show will begin after sunset on July 3, the finale of the Windward community's observance, which will begin at 10 a.m. with "the oldest and largest hometown parade on Oahu."

The Kailua Chamber of Commerce formerly paid for the pyrotechnics through year-long sales of discount coupon books and donations from its 200 members. But the group of mostly small businesses withdrew financial support two years ago.

This year, the $23,000 tab will be underwritten by Hardware Hawaii, Longs Drug Stores, Foodland Super Market, McKenna Motors Windward Ford and Windward Volkswagen/Mazda, Papa John's Pizza, Times Super Market and Kaneohe Ranch Co.

"We are saying this is a tradition that is an important thing to be continued," said Mitch D'Olier, Kaneohe Ranch president and chief executive. "It's a way to say we are grateful to Kailua residents for their support during the years."

D'Olier said "Chuck Cotton is the hero" for finding a creative way to continue the offshore fireworks display.

Cotton, general manager of Clear Channel Communication, offered advertising air time on the company's seven Oahu radio stations to match contributions from the investors. The arrangement paid for last year's fireworks, and more investors got on board this year.

The Kailua Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the Fourth of July events for more than 50 years and will continue as parade sponsor.

"The chamber is not against the fireworks," said Linda Henson, president. "It was a matter of economics. We did not pull the plug, but withdrew over three years. It was getting harder to get community support, and the members were not getting a return on their investment."

Henson said the organization is concentrating on projects that benefit Kailua businesses. Three years ago they opened the Kailua Information Center at Kailua Shopping Center.

"We get 10,000 people a year there, who we can refer to restaurants and other businesses in the community. It has a direct impact on membership," she said.

The display off Kailua Beach is not the only fireworks show in town. The annual Bayfest celebration at the Kaneohe Marine Corps base will include offshore fireworks at 9:15 p.m. July 2 and 3, and at 9:45 p.m. July 4.


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