The big orange hazard notice flapping in the icy wind last Thursday night at the proclaimed the parking lot was full and people should try the Loyola entrance.
It was a good sign.
More than 300 people flooded the Cresta Blanca meeting space supporting the event raising money to bring fireworks back to the city after the skies went black last Fourth of July because of funding cuts.
Organizers of the fundraiser are quick to recognize the city of Livermore and the for their generosity in trying to keep the fireworks. An email sent after the event noted that “the City of Livermore (was) able to come back and provide 90 percent of the resources for the Livermore fireworks. (But) we, residents of Livermore, will need to make up the difference. The fundraiser was one way to make that happen.”
Thanks to the sponsors of the event — you can check out all of those who provided raffle prizes and booths for the event here — 100 percent of the money gathered on Thursday night went directly to the fireworks fund.
And it looks like the fireworks are a go, although more money is needed to beef up the annual extravaganza. We've got the basic model ready to drive, but if you want a few upgrades we'll need to pony up some more bucks. If you weren’t at the event, you can still donate through the website.
But those who couldn’t make it missed a heck of a party.
For $20 each, people were entertained by Roger Kardinal’s classic rock songs, snacked on a range of goodies from bruschetta from the new and Flaca’s Chips & Salsa to a lovely spinach salad from (really, how much do you love that name?). And Gerald'Z Honeybees added a little sweetness to the event.
“I think we made the money we needed for the fireworks to continue this year,” said optimistic event planner and chairperson Wendy Weathers, a tireless soldier in the fight to bring back the sparklies this summer.
Raffle tickets were purchased by the handfuls, and local merchants offered up goodie baskets that overflowed with local wines and gift certificates to local businesses. There were even autographed footballs from John Madden and Ronnie Lott, all well worth the tax-deductible buck-a-chance tickets.
But most of all, people had fun chatting with their friends and neighbors. I went alone, but was happy to discover how many folks were eager to chat.
And how often do you get a chance to have your very own Mayor John Marchand pour you a glass of red wine? Now there’s a man who doesn’t go the safe, white-wine route.
It was also a place to meet Al Phillips, a gentleman who is running for a seat in the California State Assembly. I admire people who run for office because there’s nothing harder than putting yourself out on the chopping block for some person with a column or your own neighbor to take a swing at you.
Phillips says he got tired of complaining about government and decided to do something about it.
While I was impressed with the turnout, my former kid-next-door was a little disgruntled.
Sara Miehe works a couple of jobs, including serving at the Alehouse and now at Double Barrel. Sara and I have spent many a Fourth of July together with our court celebrating the holiday with a big barbecue before scattering to catch the hometown fireworks.
“I think of all my friends who have gone to the fireworks every year, and if they had come to support this, think of how much more money we would have brought in,” she says.
True enough, but Sara was there, handing out bruschetta, with quite a few other young Livermore people, and that counts for a lot.