It’s Taft’s 100th birthday year, and it would be a shame not to have fireworks on the Fourth of July.

It’s Taft’s 100th birthday year, and it would be a shame not to have fireworks on the Fourth of July.


The annual fireworks show may not go on this year without a lot of help.


Two of the biggest supporters of the annual show, Bob Hampton and Dave Noerr, are asking the community to contribute money to help put on a show this year.


Hampton, owner of West Side Waste Management, stepped in last year to donate enough money at the last minute to prevent cancellation of the show, and said people need to help fund the show, for the sake of the community on  Inde-pendence Day in the centennial year of the city.


“We understand it’s tough times, but the Fourth of July is just such an important event to the community especially with our 100th birthday celebration,” said Hampton. “It really would be a shame if we didn’t put on a display.”


Noerr and his firm, Huddleston Crane, have also been big traditional sponsors of the show.


The chamber has put the show on for the past several years after the West Side Recreation and Park District had to quit funding it, and Noerr said the community needs to step up with money even in a difficult environment.


“The private sector  has ante’d up in the past, but that hasn’t happened this year and that’s very unfortunate,” Noerr said.


“We really need help from a lot of people,” Noerr said. “Everybody has to be a part of this.”


Noerr, a former Bakers-field resident, pointed out that Bakersfield has cancelled its big show held each July 4.


He and Hampton were interviewed by a Bakers-field television station and both invited Bakersfield residents to come over and watch Taft’s show – if it goes on – and to help cover the cost with donations.


He said Taft’s show offers spectators a chance to get close enough not only to see and hear the fireworks but to feel the concussion as the shells are launched and explode.


“It’s a lot more fun that way,” Noerr said. “The concussion of the launch is almost as much fun as watching what happens in the sky. It’s something you never forget.”


Taft Chamber Executive Director Fred Schell said donations are being accepted at the chamber offices, 400 Kern Street (phone 765-2165).
Schell said the chamber is making a risky move – committing to an $8,000 deposit to reserve a show and hope enough money comes in to pay the rest.


“We’re really going out on a limb to put a deposit down,” Schell said.