Town seeks corporate sponsors for Fourth of July celebration

Jun. 13, 2013 @ 08:36 AM

Town officials are seeking corporate sponsors to help sponsor the annual Fourth of July fireworks show and celebration at UNC’s Kenan Stadium.
Officials have sent letters to area businesses asking them to help underwrite the celebration and fireworks show, which generally costs around $42,000.
The letter is signed by Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham, who are co-chairing this year’s celebration.
“Your tax-deductible contribution will make it possible for us to celebrate the birth of our country with a patriotic display of entertainment topped off with a fireworks display worthy of Chapel Hill and its people,” the letter reads.
The town is offering four levels of corporate sponsorship ranging from $500 to $2,500 with each offering various benefits.
There are four $2,500 sponsorships available, six $1,500 level sponsorships, eight $750 sponsorships and unlimited $500 sponsor ships. 
Last year, businesses and individuals contributed nearly $20,000 to help pay for the celebration, which drew more than 27,000 people.
While businesses teamed up to contribute about $12,000 for the celebration, residents generated $8,000 with their contributions at the gate.
The town asked for $1 from individuals and $5 from families who attended the celebration, and will do so again this year.
“I think we’ve kind of hit on a good and creative approach to funding this annual celebration,” Kleinschmidt said in an interview last week.
A tight budget forced the town to cancel the Fourth of July celebration in 2011.
The town decided to give it another go after a community survey found that many residents consider the celebration the most important event the town offers.
“It certainly hit the community pretty hard,” Kleinschmidt said of the decision in 2011 to cancel the celebration.
A survey conducted by Kansas-based ETC Institute in 2010, found that 34 percent of respondents felt that way.
The survey also found that the town’s “LOCALLY GROWN,” a summerlong series of free concerts and movies atop the Wallace Parking Deck, was ranked second by 33 percent of respondents.
It was followed by Festifall with 32 percent of the vote and Earth Action with 10 percent of the vote.
When the town first talked about canceling the 2011 event, Councilman Matt Czajkowski argued that it was unfair for the town to spend $100,000 on crowd control for Halloween on Franklin Street while canceling the fireworks show at Kenan.