RUMFORD – After years of struggling to raise enough money to put on a fireworks display each Fourth of July, the Moontide Water Festival Committee has voted itself out of existence.

“I’m all done. I’ve had enough,” said committee president Eddie Shurtleff. “I’m really sorry.”

The end came when selectmen decided not to fund this year’s display, nor to place an article on the town meeting warrant that could provide funding for fireworks in 2009, said Shurtleff.

Although some businesses donated money to the event, which is being returned, few individuals contributed money to the celebration despite repeated calls for donations, he said.

The group needed $12,000 by the end of April to contract a fireworks display company. That didn’t happen.

If another group decides to organize a Fourth of July celebration in the future, Shurtleff said the committee has about $3,000 in its coffers that will be turned over to the town once the legal bill is paid for the group’s nonprofit status.

He said leftover funds will be designated for fireworks for a maximum of 10 years. If no group organizes to use the money after 10 years, he said the committee agreed to donate the money to the Make A Wish Foundation.

Fireworks launched over the reflection pool of the Androscoggin River near Pennacook Falls have been a tradition for at least a decade, with 2006 the only exception.

Shurtleff served as president of the Pennacook Falls Festival for several years before becoming president of the Moontide Water Festival Committee last year. About a dozen people served on the committee.

He said he helped raise money for the community event for more than 20 years.

He believes some cable franchise fee money is supposed to be directed to the Fourth of July event. However, at two selectmen’s meetings over the past few weeks, board members decided to spend the money on other items.

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