KABOOM! BUDGET GAP GONE

kick-in-kaboomersYellow-shirted KaBoom volunteers making their way through the crowd at Riverside Gardens Park last Friday evening. That’s KaBoom vice chairman Charles Moran at left.

Visitors to the latest Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink show kicked in $12,000 toward the cost of the event Friday night.

Organizers say that sum, collected by volunteers working the Red Bank crowd with bright yellow pails, is just about enough to close the gap of about $15,000 needed to put this year’s edition in the black.

With mail-in and online donations still coming in, “I think we’re there,” event chairman Peter Reinhart tells redbankgreen.

Though KaBoom moves toward its 2010 edition without a surplus, as usual, Reinhart said the tally was an encouraging sign in his campaign to call attention to the fact that the annual display staged by Garden State Fireworks  gets no government funding and needs the support of individuals.

“I don’t expect we’ll be getting $100,000 a year this way, but my sense is that the public contribution levels will go up,” he says.

Now in his second year at the helm, Reinhart has been pushing the idea that KaBoom is “the people’s fireworks” in an effort to to wean the all-volunteer non-profit from near-total reliance on corporate backing.

Past editions of the show have tried passive efforts to raise funds on-site, including the placement of oversized bottles into which passersby could put money. This year, KaBoom dispatched about 60 volunteers in bright yellow shirts to work the crowds, man contribution tables and sell t-shirts.

Donations are still being accepted. More information is available here.

At an event review by the borough government’s special events committee earlier this week, Reinhart said the fireworks show had gone off without a hitch.

“It really is an amazing credit to this little town to have as good a fireworks show as anywhere in America,” he said.