By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
For the first time in its short life, Rumson’s annual fireworks display came close a to not happening along the affluent banks of the Navesink River next month.
Donations for the Independence Day show, which are synced with Red Bank’s ginormous Kaboom! display, were about $30,000 short of the approximate $100,000 mark needed to cover the cost late last month.
That’s something that the borough, which boasts residents who call $1 million spare change, simply had no problem with in the last three years in putting on the pyro show, Mayor John Ekdahl said. But this year, the shortfall appeared to spell doom for the event, held near the Oceanic Bridge.
“We were so short that, two weeks ago, we had to pull the plug,” Ekdahl said. “We were pretty upset, because we had already gotten a lot of checks from people. It’s something that, if you don’t do (it) for one year, it’s difficult to restart.”
But then, unexpectedly, three or four generous donations arrived at the Rumson Endowment, which manages the fundraising.
The tally is at about $90,000 now, Ekdahl said, putting the event within range of covering its costs. But unlike Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink, which passes the hat among attendees to support the Red Bank portion of the show, Rumson issued a second appeal via the mail, asking residents to donate some of that spare change.
Having enough dough, the borough was able to commit to Garden State Fireworks that it’d get paid in full for the show.
Additionally, the cancellation of the July 4 fireworks in Jersey City helped Rumson re-secure a performance it might have lost, Ekdahl.
“If Jersey City hadn’t canceled, we probably wouldn’t have gotten them back,” Ekdahl said.
But they are back and bound to be as breathtakingly identical as ever.
“We’re on as usual for the same show as Red Bank has,” Ekdahl said.