RUMFORD – No fireworks, no July Fourth festival.

That was the decision of the Moontide Water Festival Committee last week when they met to decide what to do after town officials voted against providing about $12,000 toward the fireworks display.

However, committee President Eddie Shurtleff said all hope is not lost. If businesses and individuals contribute a minimum of $12,000 before the end of April, then the fireworks and festival can go on.

“We’ll see what the donations are between now and April 30,” he said Thursday.

The committee has also decided to sponsor one more Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in an effort to raise money. That will be held on March 29 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Waldo Street. This time, a limit of 80 people may play, instead of the 100 the group had tried to gather in the past, and the entrance fee will be $65 instead of $105.

“We hope to get more people with the lower rate,” he said.

Now, the only July Fourth observance will be the posting of an American Revolutionary War flag on the green at the rotary. Shurtleff plans to go before selectmen next month to ask permission to place it there.

The Moontide committee is planning on a $25,000 fireworks display for July 4, 2009.

An initiated article requesting that money will go before the board next month. If selectmen approve the amount, then voters will make the final decision when they act on the municipal budget and initiated articles in June.

A minimum of $12,000 must be raised if fireworks are to go ahead this year because that’s the least amount the fireworks company will accept for a contract.

The town has generally appropriated $10,000 to $12,000 each year toward the July Fourth celebration from cable TV franchise fees. At the board meeting earlier this month, selectmen voted not to appropriate the money because of tight finances.

Donations may be sent to: Moontide Water Festival Committee, P.O. Box 372, Rumford, Maine 04276, or dropped off at the Oxford Federal Credit Union.


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