“We have formed a committee consisting of a longtime partner in the show Darcy Ashley (charitable nonprofit La Jolla Town Foundation), Brett Murphy (La Jolla Sporting Club), Steve Gray (Grady Development) and former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory,” said Deborah Marengo, who spearheaded the La Jolla signature event for years.
“Where we are today is that we have pulled permits for the 2020 show and begun fundraising. As of today, we have commitments of $32,000.”
Due to ongoing fundraising issues that previously plagued the event, La Jolla’s annual pyrotechnic display was finally forced to cancel following the 2017 display.
“Having had the pleasure of organizing the fireworks display for 10 years, it was heartbreaking to have to cancel the show for lack of funding two years ago,” noted Marengo. “During that time I heard from many fellow La Jollans that they wanted to see the show return.”
For its first quarter-century, the annual La Jolla Cove fireworks display, begun by La Jolla restaurateur George Hauer in 1985, went almost without a hitch. Then came legal challenges alleging environmental damage to the ocean from the annual coastal, one-day pyrotechnic display.
After Hauer stepped back relinquishing control of the event, it was saved by the formation of a grassroots group, the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation. Spearheaded by Marengo, LJCFF struggled for years to raise the approximately $60,000 — and rising — cost of staging an annual community fireworks display.
La Jolla Village Merchants Association, the community’s business improvement district, took over the fireworks extravaganza in 2015 and had been working with Marengo to keep the event afloat until funding problems caused its indefinite closure.
“We have a long way to go,” admitted Marengo of reviving Cove fireworks. She noted, “The cost of the show was approximately $60,000 two years ago, and the estimated cost has increased significantly due to rising costs from our vendors. Most notable is the cost of the fireworks, which now exceeds $10,000 due to the trade tariffs. We are currently focused on a budget of $110,000 to produce the show and secure a deposit for 2021 fireworks.”
Added Marengo, “Our goal is to continue the show from here on out. This can only be done with the community coming together and raising the funds needed to continue this tradition. Once we have secured the involvement of a ‘sponsoring organization,’ which is in the works, we will be seeking donations.”
For questions about the event or to donate contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Marengo said a fireworks update will be provided in mid-December.