Then came environmental challenges alleging environmental damage to the ocean from the annual coastal fireworks display. Then Hauer stepped back relinquishing control of the event to others in the community. They struggled initially to raise the approximately $60,000 it now takes to stage the event.
For a year or two, it was nip and tuck with event funding, as promoters would sweat over donations, nearly canceling the event, before finding money somehow at the 11th hour to stage it at least once more.
Those days — and many of the uncertainties surrounding them — are gone. The show will go on this year.
But fireworks organizer Deborah Marengo had this caveat to issue to the community in announcing the 32nd annual La Jolla Cove fireworks display is on for July 4.
“We hate to always be crying about it, but funding is still really important,” said Marengo, adding, “People really have to be made aware that this is really a grassroots community effort. There isn't funding that comes from anywhere else. The community really shouldn't take it for granted that the show is just going to happen.”
Marengo noted that big-time sponsorships up to $5,000 are hard to come by. One, from a local hotel, dropped out this year. But a replacement was found and the event is moving forward.
Sponsors at $5,000 for this year's La Jolla Cove fireworks display include:
Cisterra Development, George’s California Modern, Hughes Marino, John Barbey, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Leo Loves Fireworks, Willis Allen and three anonymous donors.
Event sponsors at $3,000 are Duke’s La Jolla and La Valencia Hotel.
Due to funding issues, the community’s 29th annual fireworks display in 2014 was canceled — then saved — at the last minute. The event was also plagued by several lawsuits over the years challenging the city's permitting process for events, especially those involving fireworks over water.
In 2011, an environmental lawyer claimed that debris from the explosives harmed sea life in the La Jolla area. That legal situation has since been resolved, and no more such suits will be forthcoming.
La Jolla Village Merchants Association, the community’s business improvement district, took over the fireworks extravaganza in 2015, and things have run more smoothly ever since.