The Fourth of July fireworks show at Bakersfield College, a community favorite for 55 consecutive years, has become another victim of bad economic times. It simply loses too much money each year, according to its sponsor, the Bakersfield Firefighters Association.
"We just can’t do it," said Association Treasurer Jimmy Cherry. Cherry is a Bakersfield Fire Department captain.
"Last year’s paid attendance was 2,496," Cherry said. "Tickets go from $10 to $15. Fireworks alone cost $25,000. You do the math."
Adding to the cost are the rental of the stadium, fences, barriers, and toilets, he said.
"Last year, we lost $17,500." Jesus Shack, a 2009 co-sponsor, also lost thousands, he said.
The show has been the centerpiece of Independence Day observances in Kern County. In recent years, with the help of Jesus Shack, it has included a concert.
No public money is used for the show.
Cherry said the Firefighters Association has not been able to find corporate sponsorship for the show
"Our members voted to suspend the show until we get further interest or someone steps up who wants to help us with some of the costs," Cherry said.