Odd Fellows optimistic despite fireworks deficit

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Kathleen Foody
July 11, 2009
— Even though the Janesville Odd Fellows are $16,000 in the red from hosting this year's Fourth of July celebration, organizer Cathy Comstock said they haven't given up.

The group is determined to provide a way for Janesville residents to celebrate the holiday and believe they now have experience and time on their side, Comstock said.

"We all know companies put their main budgets in around September, and we're looking to get sponsor letters out soon," she said.

An exploratory committee is considering changes if they find enough support to host the event next year, said Dale Stevenson, Odd Fellows noble grand.

But first, the Odd Fellows will hold fundraisers to cover the deficit from this year's event, Comstock said.

The group received about $6,000 in donations, but the event cost them nearly $27,000 in permits, entertainment and other expenses.

Some gifts still are trickling in, but the group doesn't expect them to fill the gap, Stevenson said.

Next year, the celebration could be trimmed to one or two days because the holiday falls on a Sunday. The carnival could also be eliminated, he said.

Returning the event to Traxler Park also might be an option if the city deems the area safe, Stevenson said.

"We want to put more of a county fair atmosphere into it with watermelon or pie-eating contests," he said. "If we're back at Traxler, I'd like to look into doing a raft race on the river or volleyball tournaments on the courts."

Celebration expenses

Odd Fellows had expenses totaling $26,970 after hosting the Fourth of July event this year. Cathy Comstock, event organizer, said expenses included:

Raffle permit: $25

Park permit: $25

Fireworks permit: $25

Advertising from Sullivan Signs: $150

Placards for advertising: $150

Carnival permit: $210

Sponsor shirts: $220

Tent rental: $270

Rock county camping and health permit: $305

Reservation fee for Youth Sports Complex: $315

Supplies (fencing, tables): $400

Tokens: $600

Ace portable: $600

Liability insurance: $1,425

Bands and sound equipment: $2,250

Fireworks: $20,000

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