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Originally published Friday, July 2, 2010 at 2:48 PM

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'Family 4th at Lake Union' — the community steps up

Plenty of people to thank for Sunday night's "Family 4th at Lake Union," a fireworks show saved by businesses and individuals in our region.

WHEN Fourth of July fireworks light up the Seattle sky Sunday night over Lake Union, those of us who enjoy such holiday thrills will have several people to thank for the pyrotechnics and other amusements.

Remember, this year's fireworks show, the last remaining live fireworks show in the city, was briefly canceled because of a lack of a sponsor — yet another casualty of a lousy economy.

In late March, One Reel, the nonprofit organization that has produced "Family 4th at Lake Union" for more than two decades, announced "with heavy heart" the show was canceled because it did not have enough money to produce the extravaganza.

Not so fast, said local chef Tom Douglas and KIRO-FM radio host Dave Ross, who whipped themselves and others into a radio lather that produced spontaneous community response. A kind of "why not?" attitude triggered a 24-hour radio-athon among 300 businesses and individuals. And voilà, $500,000 was raised and the show was saved.

We are lucky to live in a place with so many community-minded people who give a darn about tradition and summer entertainment. The largest contributors were Starbucks and Microsoft, which tossed in $125,000 apiece. Hearty thanks to everyone involved.

The display is expected to run 21 minutes and reach about 1,000 feet into the sky. Visibility should be good not only around Lake Union but also as far away as West Seattle and other areas.

The question of what happens next year will fall to a new fundraising model for 2011 announced Thursday. A website,, seeks donation pledges and sponsorship inquiries for next year's show should go via email to

This truly is a community-inspired and community-supported event.

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