By Gail McCarthy
---- — The organizers of Rockport’s first fireworks event — billed as “Illumination Night,” and planned for Aug. 10 — are in the final stretches of fund-raising, and are still shy of their goal.
But they have also confirmed that the duration of the show will be for the full 20 minutes, similar in length to the Gloucester fireworks show that lit up the skies over Gloucester Harbor July 3.
Tim and Susan Collins have canvases local business in recent weeks as the look to close the gap for fund, of which they still need about $3,000, for the $15,000 show.
”We talked to the fireworks company and if we go over our goal, we can extend the show,” said Susan Collins.
Barry Pett, of the Gloucester Fireworks Committee, will be on hand at Granite Pier overseeing and helping out with the Rockport show. Gloucester’s waterfront fireworks show on July 3, ran for 24 minutes and 13 seconds.
“As we sat down to choose a date, they were looking for one that was not only in between other fireworks shows, but something to give the community another boost and that is exactly what it is turning out to be,” said Pett. “It will be a big plus and hopefully bring a lot of people out to enjoy and celebrate.”
Tim Collins said one of the main reasons for the doing the fireworks is to help the local businesses.
”The idea is that it will bring people into town so they eat in the restaurants, go to the galleries and shops, and stay for the fireworks,’ he said. “We wanted it in the middle of summer so it’s a different time for visitors to come into town.” The Illumination Night also follows Rockport’s annual Lobsterfest earlier in the day.
Pett said that American Thunder Fireworks will do the show. That’s the same North Reading-based company that puts on the annual Fourth of July and Labor Day Weekend shows in Gloucester, and in many other communities along the North Shore.
”It’s a wonderful venue to be able to watch,” said Pett. “People on Bearskin Neck, either dining or walking around on the Neck, can enjoy it as in many other spots around town, as well as those who are out and about in their boats.”
Like Newburyport has its Yankee Homecoming, the Illumination Night is being organized to draw visitors to the town during a non-holiday event.
Susan Collins said that, going into the Fourth of July, the fund-raising rested far short with only about $9,000, but organizers continued their work to canvas businesses and some private donors have pitched in greatly to help.
”We’ve been reaching out to all the businesses, and some didn’t even know about the event but they were supportive of the effort when they learned about it,”she said.
The organizers are asking all the businesses to hang a lantern on Aug. 10 to spotlight the event.
”It’s called Illumination Night and we want to illuminate the town,” said Susan Collins. She added that any business or individual who wants to hang a lantern can get them at R3 Sons Fun Emporium in Dock Square, Asian Inspiration Gallery on Bearskin Neck, and Goodwin Party Shop or CVS in Gloucester.
The show is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m., and will be shot off from Granite Pier.
”It will be low tide, so Front Beach will be a great spot as well as other places along the shore and town,” said Susan Collins. “Cape Ann Whale Watch also will take people out and donate a portion back to the fireworks fund.”
In another fund-raising effort, there is a framed poster with the image of a painting by Ken Knowles, that can be viewed at the Rockport Art Association. They can be purchased for $50 to benefit the fireworks show.
For information on how to purchase one or other details, call Susan or Tim at 978-546-9566. Susan Collins said she sold several through the Rockport Fireworks Facebook page; she suggested to press “like” on the page and send her a message.
”The Fireworks Committee wants to give a big thank you to all the people who helped out to date,” said Tim Collins. “We hope this turns out to be a great evening for all.”
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.