YAKIMA, Wash. -- A 28-year tradition in Yakima might be coming to an end.
That is, if the Central Washington Fair Association is unable to come up with at least $20,000 for its annual 4th of July celebration at the State Fair Park.
Since its launch, it hasn’t cost the public a dime to get in, and the association says they’re trying to keep it that way.
"We’ve been giving it away free since ’91, not sure it would be well received if we put a charge on it, so that’s probably not a direction we feel comfortable in going," said President Greg Stewart.
Now, they’re on a mission to find sponsors to keep Yakima’s Independence Day tradition of fireworks and entertainment going, which they say is not only a fun get-together for the community, but also keeps locals from starting fires.
"It prevented people from buying fireworks and setting them off in their own backyards, creating fires or somebody gets injured, so we feel like there’s a real health-safety aspect to the fireworks show at the fairgrounds," said Stewart.
Donnie Mcloud has lived in Yakima most of his life, and he says it’d be a shame if it came down to Yakima’s usual 4th of July festivities being canceled.
He says the thousands of dollars it costs to make it a reality is worth every penny.
"Twenty-five thousand dollars is a lot of money, but I think in the long run, keeping Yakima safe from the fires and everything else, if they try to do them at their homes, would be worth it," said Mcloud.
Some locals say if the city can’t afford the celebration, then it simply can’t afford it.
And charging the public to get in would be reasonable.
But, local Steve Salinas says keeping it free gives the community something meaningful to look forward to.
"The 4th of July celebration is a major positive and there’s a lot of people that gather and celebrate 4th of July as a family," he said.
The Central Washington Fair Association says they’ll decide by the end of January on whether or not to kill the event.
Any person or business interested in becoming a sponsor can contact them at (509) 248-7160.