Budget cuts are forcing many towns to scrap fireworks shows, though in some, local residents and businesses have stepped up to keep the tradition going.
When dusk turns to darkness this Fourth of July, the only sparkle in the sky above many cash-strapped cities and towns will be the night stars.
Annual fireworks displays are being nixed from large cities such as San Jose, Calif., to small towns like Millville, N.J., in a bid to save money as municipalities nationwide struggle to find ways to overcome recessionary woes, keep from laying off municipal workers, or cut school budgets.
In Mesa, Ariz., city officials canceled their Independence Day pyrotechnic show not because the city couldn't afford to pay for it, but because the organization that funds it couldn't come up with the $35,000 for the event. Cash was just too "hard to get" this year, officials said.
In Seattle, corporate sponsor Ivar's Seafood Restaurant walked away from its well-known display of pyrotechnics over Elliott Bay.
When Sam Douglas, a web developer in Tucson, learned that his city had decided to forgo fireworks this year, he promptly created a website calling for donations to save the celebration.
"The decision came out in the paper in the morning, and I had a functioning site ready to take donations up by later afternoon…. After about a day and a half, I had about $200 from small private donations, some as low as $5. I had a couple thousand in verbal commitments from some local businesses," said Mr. Douglas in an e-mail response to questions.