TULLAHOMA — After 45 years of providing area residents with a July 4th fireworks display and, in recent years with an air show, the Tullahoma Kiwanis Club has announced that the tradition has come to an end, at least for this year.
“Following last week’s article in The News we received several commitments of donations including one from a local restaurant, but it just wasn’t enough to cover the cost that we would need to present this year’s show,” club member Mike Rutherford said last Wednesday. Club officials had said $21,000 was needed to stage the celebration.
Rutherford said club members discussed the show at their meeting Tuesday night and that some of them wanted to continue with it, “but the majority didn’t.”
He said he plans to attend next month’s meeting of the Tullahoma Regional Airport Authority to ask that board for permission to hold a show next year.
Rutherford noted that only one time in the last 45 years has there not been a fireworks show and that was in 2008 when the Tullahoma High School football stadium was being replaced.
Rutherford expressed regrets from the Kiwanians about having to cancel the show.
According to Rutherford, those who have contributed toward the fireworks display will receive a refund of their donations.
The Tullahoma Kiwanis Club, which funds the show, depends on donations from businesses and from those attending to pay for the event each year.
However, weather the last two years has wreaked havoc on the fireworks display and air show. Last year, the event had to be rescheduled to Labor Day due to torrential rainfall that occurred on the holiday weekend. About 6,000 people attended the 2013 re-scheduled event, which was double the number of visitors at the 2012 festivities, when only 3,000 visitors braved the 100-plus-degree weather to attend the fireworks display and air show.
Although the Tullahoma event has been cancelled, the city of Manchester will stage its annual fireworks show for the public at the Manchester Recreation Center.
According to Bonnie Gamble, the center’s director, the city pays $4,500 for the fireworks show and $2,000 for accompanying entertainment.
The Manchester celebration is scheduled to begin with entertainment at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, with fireworks to follow at 9 p.m.
—WAYNE THOMAS, Tullahoma News Staff Writer