A popular fireworks show that’s become a tradition in East Pierce County won’t go on as usual this year.
Organizers are canceling the Orting Valley Fourth of July Festival because of financial concerns.
The event, held outside the small city on Orville Road East, usually includes games for kids, music, food and a fireworks display after dark.
It costs about $9,000 to put on, said Ken Wolfe, an Orting Lions Club member who helps stage the festival.
This year, the person in charge of putting together the food and entertainment pulled out after struggling to line up enough vendors and volunteers, Wolfe said. The remaining organizers feared the event wouldn’t break even without those features as a draw, he said.
“Without the attractions to bring the people in, you don’t make enough money to pay the bills,” he said.
The timing of the cancelation, about three weeks before July 4, is unfortunate, Wolfe said.
The festival typically draws 700 to 900 people, with event-goers paying $10 a carload.
It’s not an official city event but “it is a huge tradition in Orting,” said Mayor Cheryl Temple.
“People come from out of town,” she said. “People even just sit on their porches and watch it because it’s so huge.”
The celebration has been held every year for at least 15-20 years, Wolfe said. It used to be held at the Soldiers Home in Orting and eventually moved to the Orville Road site.
Other local Fourth of July events have struggled in recent years, including much larger gatherings such as the Tacoma Freedom Fair. There’s no admission fee for that event on the Tacoma waterfront, but donations once again will be sought from people who attend.
Temple and Wolfe both said they’re hopeful the Orting festival will make a comeback in 2013.
“We’ll see what happens next year,” Wolfe said. “We’re going to need to pull together a board and get some fundraising and see if we can pick it back up. Hopefully, people are going to come forward and pick up the tradition and keep it going.”email@example.com