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December 20, 2014

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Despite bad economy, annual Damboree sees no cutbacks

Organizers of the Boulder City Damboree say the festival’s celebration coffers have remained strong, despite the dwindling economy.

“We didn’t make any cuts this year. We were very fortunate in that respect,” Damboree Committee Chairman Roger Hall said.

The annual Fourth of July celebration costs more than $25,000 to stage, committee members said. It is funded by the city, donations and revenues from several concession stands.

Donors can specify whether their contributions go to the general fund — used for events, supplies and promotional campaigns — or to a special fireworks fund, which in the past has received a majority of donations.

This year, organizers expect to spend $24,000 on fireworks, $15,000 of which is donated by Boulder City.

While the flood of donations for fireworks can create a big bang, it has in the past left other areas scraping for cash.

Committee member Patty Sullivan recalled one year when she had to launch an especially aggressive campaign for the general fund after the committee realized it did not have money to cover one important cost — portable toilets.

Her pleas for money created such a stir that she was crowned “Patty the Port-A-Potty Queen” and placed atop a toilet throne on the committee’s parade float, she said.

Though the recession has put a strain on fundraising efforts, Hall said, a combination of generous donors and great volunteers has insured the celebration’s success.

“People are very patriotic in this town and they like the fun celebration,” Hall said. “They like to help us out with that.”

Donations are collected in decorated water jugs around Boulder City. Robin Reese, who earned the title of Damboree Jug Lady for her involvement in organizing the collection pots each year, said donations appear stronger than past years.

“They were slow at first and then they picked up tremendously. Because of the economy, I wasn’t sure,” she said, but “it’s been a pretty generous year.”

Committee members also said smart management of the committee’s funds in the past has left organizers with a small surplus to help cover costs in a “slim” year.

Some Damboree planners worry that because cash is tight, spending on concessions might be down. The committee and many local organizations rely heavily on the day to raise money for the coming year.

But Hall thinks this year’s turnout, and spending on concessions, will remain high. Organizers are expecting 8,000 people at the parade, with about 10,000 gathering in Veterans’ Memorial Park for the fireworks show.

He said people are drawn to the Damboree by the free activities and events and don’t mind spending money on modestly priced concessions.

“Last year, our economy wasn’t in the greatest shape and we had a great turnout, even though it was a weekday,” he said.

Damboree schedule

  • 7 a.m.: Rotary pancake breakfast at Bicentennial Park (1100 Colorado Street)
  • 9 a.m.: Parade (Begins at Colorado, ends at Avenue B. and 5th Street). Parade flyover by Boulder City Veterans Flying Group
  • 10 a.m.: to 4 p.m. Games and festivities at Broadbent Memorial Park, 1301 5th St.
  • 11 a.m.: Flag raising and national anthem, presentation of parade trophies and greetings by officials, including Assemblyman Joe Hardy, Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall, Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Entertainment, including performances by the Boulder City Department Cheerleaders, Life Long Dreams musical group, Justin Mather and Neil Diamond, Billy O and Lilly Rose impersonators
  • 2–4 p.m:. Games and contests, including a coin toss at the swimming pool at 4 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.: Festivities at Veterans Memorial Park begin, 1650 Buchanan Blvd. Officials note that there will be no personal fireworks allowed in the park.
  • 9 p.m.: Fireworks show at Veterans’ Memorial Park, followed by live music from a D.J.

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