BISMARCK — There will not be a Freedom Fest in Bismarck this year. Citing a weak economy and recent storm damage to the Bismarck Pre-school, Bismarck Mayor Dennis Mayberry announced the city will not have its annual Fourth of July celebration.
“It’s with heavy heart I have to cancel the Freedom Fest for this year,” Mayberry said. “With the way the economy is and the soaring prices of fireworks, I don’t have a choice.”
Mayberry said the price of fireworks doubled this year. Last year the city paid $5,000 for fireworks while the entire event had a price tag of about $10,000. This year he said the event would have cost approximately $20,000.
“With the uncertainty of the economics of the city we have to safeguard all funds and protect our taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The board of aldermen decided that the city would not pay for the Freedom Fest earlier this year. Mayberry said the board made the decision because of the rising costs of other expenses such as employee health insurance.
“I decided to take on the Freedom Fest and was looking for other sources of funding,” Mayberry said. “I had some people on board, but in the end I couldn’t pull it all together.”
He said the “nail in the coffin” for this year’s event was on Thursday when the Bismarck Pre-school sustained heavy damage from a tornado.
“Eighty percent of our electric for the event comes from that building and it won’t be ready until at least August,” Mayberry said. “That makes it pretty rough.”
He said in addition to the event, the annual parade is also canceled.
“There is so much involved in putting this event on,” Mayberry said. “If anyone wants to get involved and help bring it back in 2010 they can call me at 573-518-5114. This is a sad day. We all took a lot of pride in hosting this each year. It had been going on I believe since 1995.”
Chris Cline is a reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.