Fireworks Display Donations Tough to Come By

As of Friday, June 22, the borough had raised $2,850 for this year's fireworks display, with more funds expected to be on the way.

If the weather cooperates next Monday, the borough's annual fireworks display at  will go off without a hitch. The town is just likely to pick up more of the cost this year than it has in years past.

As of Friday, the borough had collected only $2,850 of the event's approximately $27,500 price tag ($17,500 for the fireworks, $10,000 for the employee overtime) via private donations, although more is expected to trickle in, Deputy Mayor John Cosgrove said.

Borough manager Tom Metzler said that while the borough has always fronted the money for the fireworks, only to later offset it with donations and admission costs, he expects Fair Lawn will end up picking up more than half of the tab this year.

"It’s never been fully funded by donations, ever," he said. "I certainly don’t anticipate that this year is going to be the first year that that happens. Quite the contrary given the status of the economy, I’d expect it to go the other way -- a greater burden on the borough than on donations."

Of course, he added, the fireworks display was never intended to turn a profit.

"We don’t do it to make money, we don’t do it to break even," Metzler said. "We do it because as a government we believe independence is something worth celebrating."

Former Mayor Joe Tedeschi said when he led the charge to restore the borough's fireworks display about 15 years ago, it was intended to be funded privately.

However, over time, funding the event has sometimes fallen to the town.

"Over the years, we've tried to minimize the borough's contribution, but some years the borough is in better situations than others," former Mayor Steve Weinstein said. 

In recent years, Weinstein took it upon himself to raise funds for the fireworks when the borough was in similarly dire economic straits.

Going door to door seeking pledges from local businesses and organizations, Weinstein said he raised about $18,000 in donations in 2010, which when added to ticket sales, more than paid for the fireworks. The additional money was used to .

Money set aside for fireworks again went toward keeping the library open this past fall, when council  on extending operating hours on Thursdays.

This year's funding for the fireworks display had originally been excised from the manager's budget, but was after the chief financial officer spotted an over-accounting error in the  budget that could be used to offset the cost of the display.

Despite the found funding, Cosgrove and councilman Kurt Peluso were tasked with drumming up private donations to further offset the borough's cost. The process of soliciting private funds for the July 2 display has not been easy, Cosgrove said.

Discount pre-sale tickets for the fireworks display are being sold at various business locations throughout town until 5 p.m. on July 2, including , , , , the municipal building tax office, and the Memorial Park bath house and pool.

Tickets will also be sold at the gates, which open at 7:30 p.m. next Monday, for a slightly higher price. 

In case of inclement weather, tune in to cable chanell 77, check the borough's website or call 201-794-5370 after 5 p.m. to learn whether the fireworks have been postponed. Reshedule dates are set for Sunday, July 8 and Monday, July 9.


  • ADULTS - $7
  • FAMILY OF 5 - $25


  • CHILD (UNDER 12) - $7
  • ADULTS - $9
  • FAMILY OF 5 - $30


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Jose R June 26, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Instead of paying people overtime why don't they make the employees work flex hours (saturdays and sundays so they get paid straight time. Or better yet get some volunteers.
Alice Park June 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I don't always agree, but he makes an interesting case.
Jack Randolph June 27, 2012 at 12:44 AM
How can anyone substantiate fireworks and the costs associated when the borough can't pay it's employees properly?
Jenne July 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
You know, it would have been helpful if anyone at the borough had thought to post the time Memorial Pool would close to prep for the fireworks.
Paterson Resident July 03, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Thank you Fair Lawn for moving ahead with the fireworks, for better or for worse. I enjoyed the view from my window over in Paterson. I can see many shows at once from up here and yours was the longest and most beautiful of all competing municipalities. Guess you're not alone with the Monday show.


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