Coalinga cancels Fourth of July fireworks show to save money

COALINGA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A patriotic tradition has come to an end in Coalinga. The small town has canceled the Fourth of July fireworks show to save money.

Independence Day won't be the same in Coalinga. There won't be explosions in the sky this year and families crowded around Memorial Bowl to see them.

Lisa Hunt, who lives in town, said, "We're just gonna have to find a different plan and it's sad."

She's changing plans because the town's Fourth of July celebration, the annual fireworks show, has been canceled. "We will probably go to the coast and enjoy the fireworks over there, this year, since we are not gonna have them here," Hunt said.

It wasn't an easy decision for her to leave town or for the town to cancel the show. City Council Member Ron Landers says it's the first time it's happened in decades and it all comes down to money. "To be fiscally responsible in our community, this is something we had to do," Landers said. "It's a necessary evil."

He says, in September, the town's budget was running in the red, jobs were at stake, cuts needed to be made and the patriotic tradition was one of them. "When you're looking at cutting people's jobs or potential layoffs, I would rather not see fireworks than see some employee not have a job," Landers said.

The show was free to the public but it cost the town $15,000 a year. Katie Delano with the Chamber of Commerce says without fireworks in the sky, there also won't be a pool party next door, and it's too late to do anything about it, this year. Delano said, "Coalinga loves its red, white and blue, so it'll be different; it just will be different."

Landers says there's a chance to revive the show, next year, if people are willing to raise money for it.
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