REDWOOD CITY (KCBS) - Several long-running Fourth of July fireworks shows in the Bay Area will not happen this year, and even cities that can still afford to host them can barely afford to keep their community traditions alive.
Livermore cancelled its fireworks show, telling residents to consider taking them in the pyrotechnics displays at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton (which is on July 1st), or nearby San Ramon.
The non-profit behind Redwood City's Fourth of July spectacular simply couldn't find companies willing to pony up for 2011 as they had in years past.
"Unfortunately for the last couple of years, because of the economic situation, they've been unable to get the corporate sponsors necessary to put on the fireworks," said Malcolm Smith, spokesman for Redwood City.
KCBS' Holly Quan Reports:
Two Vallejo businessmen who had funded the fireworks show there last years had to rely on an outpouring of donations to come up with the $18,000 needed this year.
Festival budgets are a natural consequence in an era when libraries have had trouble staying open, said Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities.
And the economics aren't the only troublesome thing about the loss of community activities such as Independence Day gatherings.
"The extent to which you don't have community celebrations, people feel less connected to each other and they're not engaged in celebrating their common history and culture," McKenzie said.
These activities draw young and old together in a way that few urban rituals do, so their disappearance has other less tangible consequences for a city's quality of life.
"Children don't get introduced to those community rituals and celebrations. Older people who've enjoyed them over the years don't get to enjoy them again. They don't come out of their homes and interact with members of the community," McKenzie said.
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